Jubilee Line Planned Works

Courtesy of the Jubilee Line twitter account:

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London Underground’s Worst Bodge Job

INTRODUCTION

This post will cover the Northern line, and as such it is going to be somewhat convoluted.

ORDER DECREASES OVER TIME

This section of the post deals with the history of the Northern line. The title above, which makes reference to the laws of thermodynamics is apposite for this line which has certainly become more disordered over its history.

THE CITY AND SOUTH LONDON RAILWAY

On December 18th 1890 a new development in public transport history occurred. The development of electric traction allowed use to be made of the comparative ease of tunnelling through the blue clay that lies beneath London to build deep level railways, called tubes because of the tunnelling method used. The City and South London Railway, running from Stockwell to King William Street with intermediate stations at Oval, Kennington, Elephant & Castle and Borough.

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In 1900 the King William Street terminus was abandoned in favour of new stations at London Bridge, Bank and Moorgate, while the line was also extended south to Clapham North and Clapham Common. In 1903 the line was extended to Old Street and Angel.

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THE CHARING CROSS, EUSTON & HAMPSTEAD RAILWAY

This line was opened in 1907, ending the great tube building boom of 1905-7 which also saw the genesis of the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines. It ran from Charing Cross to Golders Green with a branch to Highgate, the bifurcation point being Camden Town. The City and South London was extended to King’s Cross and Euston. Plans for an amalgamation were already developing.

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THE NORTHERN CITY LINE

This was the original designation of what is now a section of mainline railway in tube tunnels running from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. This section of track opened in 1904, originally operated by the Metropolitan but a part of the Northern line for many years.

AMALGAMATION AND PLANS NOT COMPLETED

The 1920s saw a combination of the final amalgamation of the City & South London with the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead, with the latter being extended south to Kennington as part of the process. The complete line was extended to Morden, still the southern outpost of the system, in 1926. It was also in this period that the Northern line took over the Northen City section mentioned above, and that suburban branches of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) were subsumed, extending the northern termini to Mill Hill East, High Barnet and Edgware. As this map section makes clear, there were further plans that were never fulfilled.

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At Edgware tunnels north of the station where the line was to have been extended are still visible. The last big change to affect the northern line was when the Northern City section became part of the mainline railway network in the 1970s.

SPECULATIONS

Having looked at the past, it is time for a look to the future. Firstly, although I am normally a big fan of integration, I would split the northern line, so that there would be one line running from High Barnet to Morden via Bank, with a branch to Mill Hill East, and the other running from Edgware to Kennington via Charing Cross.

EDGWARE-KENNINGTON

This line, comprising the Edgware and Charing Cross branches would be extended south from Kennington to East Croydon and on to Gatwick Airport, going via Brixton and Streatham among other places. Beyond Edgware, the line would go to Stonegrove, Newlands, Elstree High Street, Letchmore Heath, Aldenham and Garston, at which point it would share the Jubilee line route north to Hemel Hemsptead. There would also be a branch from Elstree High Street to Elstree and Borehamwood and then following the Thameslink route as far as Luton Airport Parkway.

My chosen extension beyond Edgware would add this walk to the list of those accessible by London Underground.
My chosen extension beyond Edgware would add this walk to the list of those accessible by London Underground.

HIGH BARNET – MORDEN

From High Barnet the line would go to Monken Hadley, Saffron Green, Well End, Shenley, Radlett and St Albans, possibly the running north to Luton Airport Parkway.

From Morden the line would extend south to Morden South, St Helier, North Cheam, Stoneleigh, Ewell West and Leatherhead, from where it would follow the existing route to Dorking.

Finally, the Mill Hill branch would be extended to Mill Hill Broadway, Edgware and Stanmore, from whence it could follow the Jubilee to Hemel Hempstead.

CONTINUED CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE LINES

These lines while separate entities, would still of course be closely connected, with interchanges agt Kennington and Camden Town, and new connections at St Albans and Edgware, but the scope of their services would be greatly extended without the complications the arise from all the branching the currently exists. Also of course, the track connections at Kennington and Camden Town would be preserved for stock transfer purposes.

THE NORTHERN LINE TODAY

Our journey will run from Morden to High Barnet via Bank, with a diversion to Mill Hill East, before we bounce back to Waterloo and head north from there to Edgware. So with the itinerary set out we begin at…

MORDEN

The current southern outpost of the system, and the only station at the southern end of the Northern line to be open to the elements. The station building, like all of those we will meet until Clapham South, is faced in Portland Stone. Here is a picture of this station under construction for you…

Morden

Morden is also one of the two end points of the Wandle Trail (the other is Mitcham Junction station).

SOUTH WIMBLEDON

Leaving Morden, we enter the longest continuous section of tunnel on the system, 17.3 miles via Bank to Finchley Central. The first station we arrive it in this section of tunnel is South Wimbledon. The surface building has a curved frontage. A short walk in one direction takes one to Wimbledon Station and many potential routes. Another route from the station crosses Croydon Tramlink, emerging at Wimbledon Chase (the station name is reflective of the pernicious practice called hunting).

COLLIERS WOOD

This station has a ‘three-eighths of an octagon’ type frontage. Near here is the Sava Centre, a Sainsbury’s hypermarket. It was at a pub close to this station that I watched the first part of the coverage of the 1997 General Election, the first in which I was eligible to vote.

TOOTING BROADWAY

The first of two stations to have Tooting in their name. Like South Wimbledon this station has a curved frontage. It is built on top of a subterranean lake. Not far from this station is Graveney School, which regularly supplies ball boys and girls for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, and which I attended between 1986 and 1993. Also close to this station is the Sree Krishna, a high quality Indian Restaurant.

TOOTING BEC

My home station for 20 years. This station, like Balham to the north has two surface buildings, on opposite corners of a four-way junction. This is one of them:

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Tooting Bec Road is flanked by Tooting Bec Common on one side and Tooting Graveney Common on the other. Within Tooting Graveney Common is an athletics track. Nestling just near the railway which splits Tooting Bec Common is Tooting Bec Lido, a supersize outdoor swimming pool. Beyond the bridge, the common is bounded at one end by Garrads Road, while Ambleside Avenue takes one to Streatham Station and Tooting Bec Gardens leads through to Streatham High Road, by way of St Leonards Church.

BALHAM

BAL-HAM: GATEWAY TO THE SOUTH

This is one of the stations designed by Charles Holden and opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended south to Morden (the southernmost point on the system, a mere 10 miles south of the centre of London – by comparison, Amersham, the most far flung station on the current network is 27 miles out, and Brill, the furthest ever outpost of any line is 51 miles out).

I can provide pictures of both surface buildings and some blurb about the station itself in the form of two photos of stuff in the book Bright Underground Spaces…

The pictures of the surface buildings.

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Although there are only five stations south of Balham on the Northern line, it is also a main-line railway station, and connects southwards to a number of destinations via three distinct routes, through Streatham Common, Streatham Hill and Hackbridge.

I made extensive use of Balham at one time, when I lived at Parklands Road and worked in New Malden, and it was easier to take a longer walk than strictly necessary and get a train to Clapham Junction, where I could change to another train for New Malden than to do anything else.

Also, given the the majority of it was through commons, the walk though long was quite a pleasant one.

To finish, as usual I have some map pics…

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The full map, spread out.

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 CLAPHAM SOUTH

The first of three stations whose name begins with Clapham. This station is the last Holden designed station to feature in this post.

CLAPHAM COMMON

The southern terminus of the line from 1900 to 1926. This station and its neighbour Clapham North are the last two stations to sport the island platforms (one regular-sized platform between two sets of tracks) that were a feature of the City & South London Railway, although a couple of  other stations have legacies of such platforms.

CLAPHAM NORTH

The other island-platform station. Near this station is Mary Seacole House, named in honour of a Jamaican born nurse who helped soldiers during the Crimean War. This deeply unprepossessing tower block houses offices used by Lambeth Council.

STOCKWELL

The first interchange between this line and another underground line (Balham and Clapham North both have connections to main line railway stations and IMO South Wimbledon is close enough to Wimbledon that that should be shown as an interchange) in this case the Victoria. This is a cross-platform interchange, one of four on the Victoria line. A change here is often advisable even if it means one more change than is strictly necessary for the journey (e.g Tooting Bec – Stockwell – Victoria – South Kensington is a quicker journey than Tooting Bec – Embankment – South Kensington) due to the extra speed of travel on the Victoria line.

OVAL

IN THE SHADOW OF THE GAS HOLDERS

I am treating these two stations together because they are at opposite ends of the Oval cricket ground. Oval was one of the original six stations of the City and South London Railway, the world’s first deep-level tube railway, which opened in 1890. Vauxhall only opened as an underground station in 1971, part of the newest section of the Victoria line, but is also a main-line railway station and would have opened in that capacity long before Oval.

Today is the Saturday of the Oval test, by tradition the last of the summer. At the moment things are not looking rosy for England, but more spectacular turnarounds have been achieved (bowled at for 15 in 1st dig and won by 155 runs a day and a half later – Hampshire v Warwickshire 1922, 523-4D in 1st dig and beaten by ten wickets two days later – Warwickshire v Lancashire 1982 to give but two examples). The Oval in it’s long and illustrious history has seen some of test cricket’s greatest moments:

1880: 1st test match on English soil – England won by five wickets, Billy Murdoch of Australia won a sovereign from ‘W G’ by topping his 152 in the first innings by a single run.

1882: the original ‘Ashes’ match – the term came from a joke obituary penned after this game by Reginald Shirley Brooks. Australia won by 7 runs, England needing a mere 85 to secure the victory were mown down by Fred Spofforth for 77.

1886: A triumph for England, with W G Grace running up 170, at the time the highest test score by an England batsman. Immediately before the fall of the first England wicket the scoreboard nicely indicated the difference in approach between Grace and his opening partner William Scotton (Notts): Batsman no 1: 134           Batsman no 2: 34

1902: Jessop’s Match – England needing 263 in the final innings were 48-5 and in the last-chance saloon with the tables being mopped when Jessop arrived at the crease. He scored 104 in 77 minutes, and so inspired the remainder of the English batsmen, that with those two cool Yorkshiremen, Hirst and Rhodes together at the death England sneaked home by one wicket.

1926: England’s first post World ward I Ashes win, secured by the batting of Sutcliffe (161) and Hobbs (100) and the bowling of young firebrand Larwood and old sage Rhodes – yes the very same Rhodes who was there at the death 24 years earlier.

1938: The biggest margin of victory in test history – England win by an innings and 579. Australia batted without opener Jack Fingleton and even more crucially no 3 Don Bradman in either innings (it was only confirmation that the latter would not be batting that induced England skipper Hammond to declare at 903-7)

1948: Donald Bradman’s farewell to test cricket – a single boundary would have guaranteed him a three figure batting average, but he failed to pick Eric Hollies’ googly, collecting a second-ball duck and finishing wit a final average of 99.94 – still almost 40 runs an innings better than the next best.

1953: England reclaim the Ashes they lost in 1934 with Denis Compton making the winning hit.

1968: A South-African born batsman scores a crucial 158, and then when it looks like England might be baulked by the weather secures a crucial breakthrough with the ball, exposing the Australian tail to the combination of Derek Underwood and a rain affected pitch. This as not sufficient to earn Basil D’Oliveira an immediate place on that winter’s tour of his native land, and the subsequent behaviour of the South African government when he is named as a replacement for Tom Cartwright (offically injured, unoffically unwilling to tour South Africa) sets off a chain of events that will leave South Africa in the sporting wilderness for almost quarter of a century.

1975: Australia 532-9D, England 191 – England in the mire … but a fighting effort all the way down the line in the second innings, Bob Woolmer leading the way with 149 sees England make 538 in the second innings and Australia have to settle for the draw (enough for them to win the series 1-0).

1985: England need only a draw to retain the Ashes, and a second-wicket stand of 351 between Graham Gooch (196) and David Gower (157) gives them a position of dominance they never relinquish, although a collapse, so typical of England in the 1980s and 90s sees that high-water mark of 371-1 turn into 464 all out. Australia’s final surrender is tame indeed, all out for 241 and 129 to lose by an innings and 94, with only Greg Ritchie’s 1st innings 64 worthy of any credit.

2005: For the second time in Oval history an innings of 158 by a South-African born batsman will be crucial to the outcome of the match, and unlike in 1968, the series. This innings would see Kevin Peter Pietersen, considered by many at the start of this match as there for a good time rather than a long time, finish the series as its leading run scorer.

2009: A brilliant combined bowling effort from Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann sees Australia all out for 160 after being 72-0 in their first innings, a debut century from Jonathan Trott knocks a few more nails into the coffin, and four more wickets for Swann in the second innings, backed by the other bowlers and by Andrew Flintoff’s last great moment in test cricket – the unassisted run out of Ricky Ponting (not accompanied by the verbal fireworks of Trent Bridge 2005 on this occasion!).

The above was all written without consulting books, but for those who wish to know more about test cricket at this iconic venue, there is a book dedicated to that subject by David Mortimer.

As usual I conclude this post with some map pics…

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KENNINGTON

At this station the Northern line splits into two branches, one going via Charing Cross and the other via Bank, before a brief recombination at Camden Town and then a further bifurcation. If travelling from a point south of Kennington to a destination on the Charing Cross branch the advice is to get the first train and change at Kennington if necessary, since some Charing Cross branch services start from Kennington. Not far from this station is the Imperial War Museum.

ELEPHANT & CASTLE

An interchange with the Bakerloo line and also with mainline rail services. This area is being redeveloped.

BOROUGH

One of only three stations on the Bank branch to have no interchanges. This station serves London’s most renowned food market.

LONDON BRIDGE

Interchanges with the Jubilee line, in which context I wrote about it in detail, and mainline railways.

BANK

I covered this station in great detail when writing about the Central line.

MOORGATE

An interchange with the Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines. At street level this station is directly opposite an entrance to the Barbican Centre. If what the Barbican itself has to offer, a short walk through it brings you to the Museum of London which is well worth a visit.

OLD STREET

This station has a connection to mainline railways (the Northern City section referred to earlier in this post). It serves Moorfields Eye Hospital.

ANGEL

This station has no interchanges. It possesses the longest escalators on the system (these claimed the record from Leicester Square, not Holborn as erroneously stated in this article). Shrewd observers may note that one of the platforms at this station is exceptionally wide. This is because until its fairly recent refurbishment, including the building of the escalators mentioned above, Angel still had an island platform, which was replaced as part of the work.

KINGS CROSS ST PANCRAS

I have written extensively about this station elsewhere on this site, so all I shall add is that the Northern line platforms at this station are the deepest of any at the station.

EUSTON

EUSTON AND EUSTON SQUARE

Euston Square, served nowadays by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines is one of the 1863 originals, and as with Baker Street has been restored to look as it would have done when first opened. The City and South London Railway station at Euston was opened on May 12th 1907 and the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway on June 22nd 1907. These two together are now the Northern line, and occupy four platforms here – although widely separated – to change between the two branches you would be well advised to continue northwards to Camden Town where the interchange is cross-platform. The Victoria line station opened on December 1st 1968.

The southbound platform on the Bank branch of the Northern line is very wide at this station because when it was opened as the City and South London Railway station there were two tracks either side of an island platform (an arrangement still in evidence at Clapham Common and Clapham North), and the extra width of that platform comes from the reorginastion when this arrangement was deemed unsuitable for such a busy station.

INTRODUCING THE RAILWAY DETECTIVE

Euston was the first of London’s railway terminals to open, serving the London and North Western Railway, and it was on that route that Edward Marston’s greatest creation, The Railway Detective (a.k.a Inspector Robert Colbeck) investigated the case that first earned him that title (and introduced him to his future wife). These stories are set thus far) in the 1850s, before the opening of the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, but I could see Colbeck still being in business when that momentous event occurs. He would undoubtedly embrace the underground railway wholeheartedly, although his colleague Sergeant Leeming would take some persuading of its virtues!

CONCLUSION AND PICS

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and will be inspired to share it. Here are a couple of pictures to finish…

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The Diagrammatic History

The Diagrammatic History.

MORNINGTON CRESCENT

This station is best known for having given its name to a game.

CAMDEN TOWN

A double bifurcation point, as south of here the line splits in Bank and Charing Cross branches, while to the north it splits into High Barnet and Edgware branches. This is also the closest station to London Zoo.

An old promotional poster for the Zoo.
An old promotional poster for the Zoo.

For more on Camden Town, and a view of the area from a different perspective you can see what Ester makes of it on her Travelling Around The World blog by clicking here.

KENTISH TOWN

From 1907 until 1924 there was an intermediate station called South Kentish Town, which was closed due industrial action at Lots Road Power Station and in the event never re-opened. This station has an interchange with mainline railway services. The surface level platforms are spanned by a pedestrian bridge which means that direct access to streets on both sides of the station is possible.

TUFNELL PARK

This station is currently closed, officially expected to reopen in 2017.

ARCHWAY

One of the original northern termini of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead. Close to this station is the point at which Dick Whittington legendarily turned back towards London and a career that would see him become Lord Mayor of London.

HIGHGATE

OF MUSIC AND MARX

A CURIOUS HISTORY

One stop south of Highgate is Archway, which opened in 1907 and was for some time the northern terminus of the line. One stop to the north is East Finchley, which was first served by Northern line trains in 1939, having previously been part of the LNER. Highgate, our subject, only opened in 1941 – something of an afterthought.

TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS

This title comes from a CD case, and concerns a story that began almost 400 years ago and that touches on Highgate…

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In 1619 a servant girl the household of the dramatist, librettist and poet Giulio Strozzi gave birth to an illegitimate child. The child, Barbara Strozzi, grew up in the household, becoming Giulio’s “figliuola elettiva” (elective daughter). Encouraged by Giulio she developed considerable musical talents and became known in her own lifetime as a composer and performer.

She is not so well known these days, but it was at Highgate that I first heard her music. The performance featured the same four people as the CD (Catherine Bott, Paula Chateauneuf, Timothy Roberts and Frances Kelly), which I bought that very evening.

A FAMOUS GRAVE

To be fair, quite a few well known people are buried in Highgate Cemetery, but I am confining myself to one. Karl Marx was buried there in 1883, and Marxism 2015, a five-day political event begins in London tomorrow afternoon. I will be there and I intend to put up regular blog posts and tweet about being at the event – watch this space. For much more detail and a different perspective on Highgate Cemetery I recommend this post on alicevstheworld.

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EAST FINCHLEY

One of three stations with Finchley in its name. This is also the last station on this section of the line to be in tunnel.

FINCHLEY CENTRAL

This station is at surface level, and looks exactly like a rural railway station, not least because that is how it (and the rest of this section of the line on to High Barnet) started life, as a part of the London & North Eastern Railway’s network of local services. Thus we have the paradoxical situation whereby the oldest stations on the line (dating from 1872) have been served for less long by this line than ay of the others. Although we will be following the mainline to High Barnet first we have a little diversion to make to…

MILL HILL EAST

Although this is a very minor spur of track it does include one system-wide record holder. The Dollis Brook Viaduct on this branch is 60 feet above the surface, the highest point of elevation above ground anywhere on the system. Mill Hill East station is itself elevated, though not sufficiently so to warrant up escalators from the street as seen at Alperton.

WEST FINCHLEY

The third and last of the Finchleys.

WOODSIDE PARK and TOTTERIDGE & WHETSTONE

These two stations are attractive, with platforms in the style of the LNER with whom they started life.

HIGH BARNET

The end of the line. There is open country beyond the station.

WATERLOO

Having finished the Bank and High Barnet branches, it is time to take on the Charing Cross and Edgware branches, and of course we have already covered Kennington. I have written in great detail about Waterloo in my posts on the Bakerloo  and Jubilee lines.

EMBANKMENT

I wrote in detail about this station in my post on the District line. However a couple of Northern line specific things deserve mention here. Firstly, there are floodgates on the the Northern line platforms because the Thames is directly overhead. Second, this station is further below sea-level than any other on the system, 67 feet to be precise. Third and final due to the fact that the southbound platform uses what was a terminal loop in the days of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead there is famously a gap between the platform edge and the trains, hence “Mind The Gap”.

CHARING CROSS

This station was originally called Strand, and was not recognized as having an interchange with Charing Cross main line station. Both Charing Cross and its close neighbour Embankment have been through many name changes down the years. The Bakerloo line platforms that now have the name Charing Cross were originally opened as Trafalgar Square. It was the opening of the Jubilee line in 1979 with it’s southern terminus at Charing Cross that led to these two stations being shown as an interchange, because both did have an interchange to the Jubilee line, although the interchange from the Northern to the Bakerloo at this station would not have been advisable in any circumstance – Embankment and Waterloo are both much better options. Charing Cross Station is the centre of the 10KM (6 Miles) radius circle within which drivers of black cabs are required to know everything. This is called “The Knowledge”, a designation which may come from a quote from the world’s most famous consulting detective, in The Adventure of the Red Headed League, when he tells Watson “It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London”. For more specific detail about Charing Cross and its neighbour Embankment check out this post.

LEICESTER SQUARE

Until the refurbishment of Angel this station possessed the longest escalators on the system at 161 feet in length. It serves an area of London known both for its Chinese Restaurants and for its Theatres – one designation for this part of London is Theatreland. Additonally, for map lovers, Stanford’s, the greatest of all map shops, is just down the road from this station. There is an interchange to the Piccadilly line here.

the Theatreland walk.
the Theatreland walk.

TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD

An interchange to the Central line, and from 2017 (if the project is completed on schedule, which in British public transport terms is a big if) Crossrail. This postcard shows the current layout of the station:

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Tottenham Court Road is in London’s busiest shopping district. Unique among the shops to be found here is Bookmarks. Also, very close to this station is the British Museum. Recent Developments at this station are covered in this piece from Time Out.

GOODGE STREET

The only station on the Charing Cross branch not to have an interchange with at least one other line. Close to this station is what is probably London’s best stocked bookshop, the Gower Street branch of Waterstones. On nearby Malet Street is Student Central, formerly the University of London Union. Next door to Student Central is Birkbeck College. Among the other educational establishments based within walking distance of this station are the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), The Institute of Education and University College London. In between this station and Tottenham Court Road is the very striking Centrepoint Tower.

WARREN STREET

A very long and convoluted interchange with the Victoria line is possible here – although one stop beyond, to Euston would surely be better. This station is even closer to UCL than Goodge Street, while a stroll round the corner takes one to Euston Square, and the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. Also, like the previous two stations this one is within eyesight of a very distinctive tower, in its case the BT Tower.

ON TO THE EDGWARE BRANCH

Euston and Camden Town have already been covered while talking about the Bank branch, so it is time to move on to…

CHALK FARM

This station was at one time my aunt’s local station. Access to the surface is provided by lifts here, as also at the next two stations.

BELSIZE PARK

This station opened in 1907 as part of the original section of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, which was subsequently amalgamated with the City and South London Railway to form the Northern line. It is located on the Edgware branch, two stops beyond the bifurcation point of Camden Town and one stop south of Hampstead. Like its northerly neighbour it is very deep, and accessible from the street only by lift or staircase. Although it is shown on the maps as offering no interchanges, Gospel Oak on London Overground is walkable should one ever have reason to make such a change.

MURDER ON THE UNDERGROUND

This is the title of a book by 1930s crime writer Mavis Doriel Hay. The murder itself takes place on the stairs mentioned above, and all the action is set around this section of the northern line. Having just read the book I heartily recommend at and am looking forward to reading the other book of hers I have located at one of thelibraries I patronise, Murder on the Cherwell, set in another place I have a more than passing acquaintance with, Oxford.

The front cover, showing a 1930s train (that shade of red was known because of its use at that time as "train red")

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A diagram showing the layout of Belsize Park station that appears in the middle of the book.

HAMPSTEAD

This is the deepest station anywhere on the system, 192 feet below the surface. Just north of here is the deepest point on the network, 221 feet below the surface of Hampstead Heath. This gives the Northern line three records relating to the station’s vertical location – deepest below sea level, deepest below surface and highest above surface. The remaining record, highest above sea level is held by Amersham, 500 feet up in the Chilterns. Access the the surface is gained by lifts, or if you are up for major climb or are seriously claustrophobic by way of 350 stairs.

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A station to have been called either North End or Bull & Bush was excavated at platform level but never built, meaning that the next station we reach is…

GOLDERS GREEN

Given the record held by Hampstead, and the supplementary record held by a sport just north of Hampstead towards this station, you might expect that this station would still be in tunnel, but it is actually at surface level. The principal depot for the Northern line is located at this station.

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BRENT CROSS

 Brent Cross is home to a major shopping centre. For this part of the route the line is elevated above surface level giving rise to the infrequent sight of a viaduct with the London Underground logo on the side.

HENDON CENTRAL

Although this station is correctly shown as having no interchanges, it is only a 13-minute walk from Hendon Thameslink Station. This station is in two fare zones, 3 and 4. This is not very frequent, although the Northern line boasts several examples: South Wimbledon (3 and 4), Clapham South (2 and 3), Elephant & Castle (1 and 2), Archway (2 and 3) and here. Hendon was the birthplace of sporting legend (5,000 test runs for England and FA Cup Winners medal with Arsenal) Denis Compton.

COLINDALE

This station is located near Hendon Aerodrome, which now houses the RAF Museum.

BURNT OAK

The second last station on our journey, and not notable in any way.

EDGWARE

Just beyond this station two tunnel openings can be seen, all that currently remains of plans for an extension to Elstree and Aldenham. Like Uxbridge and Stanmore among other London Underground termini this has bus stands directly outside the station building.

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HISTORY AND MODERN CONNECTIONS IN MAP FORM

These final maps show the whole line, first its history, and then its modern day connections…

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RESOURCES

For mainstream non-specialist books I always direct people to book depository because they do free worldwide delivery. The books that I have mentioned in this post to which this applies are:

100 Walks in Greater London

100 Walks in Greater London – available for £8.99

Murder Underground

Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay – available for £7.64

The Adventures & Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – available for £2.49

Those books that are of specialist interest can generally be obtained by way of the London Transport Museum. I point to three of these:

 

Bright Underground Spaces

Bright Underground Spaces – available for £25 (this is a superbly illustrated hardback)

Mr Beck`s Underground Map

Mr Beck’s Underground Map – available for £12.95

 

The Spread of London`s Underground

The Spread of London’s Underground – available for £8.95

MAPS

I have only used two maps in this piece. One of those, the modern London Connections Map, which has Southeast England’s railways on its reverse side, is obtainable free of charge at a wide variety of locations (I picked mine up at King’s Lynn bus station). The other, the Diagrammatic History, can be obtained from Stanford’s, the map specialists based in Covent Garden, very close to the London Transport Museum.

 

London Underground Diagrammatic History

London Underground; A Diagrammatic History – £9.95

AFTERWORD

My thanks and congratulations to those of you who have made it all the way through this long and convoluted post. I hope consider ti worthwhile, and will spread the word both about this post and about the website.

Bits and Bobs

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with three systems that I am taking together for reasons that will ultimately become clear:

  1. The Waterloo and City line
  2. Tramlink
  3. The Docklands Light Railway

BRIEF HISTORIES

THE WATERLOO AND CITY

Athough this has been part of London Underground since 1994 I am not giving it a whole post to itself because it comprises only two stations, Waterloo and Bank. It was the second deep-level tube line to open, in 1898, but for the first 96 years of its existence it was run as part of the main-line rail network. For administrative purposes it is run as part of the Central line, whose rolling stock it uses.

TRAMLINK

This is the newest of three basic components of this post, although two parts of it long predate the network itself, the former branch line from Wimbledon to West Croydon and the former branch line from Elmers End to Addiscombe. This system currently has a western terminus at Wimbledon and three eastern termini at Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington.

THE DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY

This opened in the early 1990s, originally running from Tower Gateway and Stratford in the north the a southern terminus at Island Gardens, which in those days, like most of the network was an elevated station. The first expansion to this network was the opening of a branch to Bank, which is in tunnel. Then a branch to Beckton was opened. The third extension was a southern extension from Island Gardens to Lewisham, which replaced the original Island Gardens with a new station that was in tunnel. Finally, what had been the Stratford – North Woolwich section of the line that now forms the nucleus of London Overground became a DLR branch to to Woolwich Arsenal (the equivalent of North Woolwich is George V, while the extension to Woolwich Arsenal on the other bank of the Thames is new.

SPECULATIONS

This is the section that is going to bring the three elements above together. Followers of these posts will have noted integration as a common theme, and on this occasion my vision has the Waterloo & City acting as a bridge between Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway. The DLR connection would be achieved by means of a track connection at Bank. From Waterloo the line would follow the line of mainline railways, coming to the surface at Clapham Junction and continuing over existing tracks to Wimbledon where a track connection would take this line on to Tramlink tracks. The Lewisham branch of the DLR would be extended by taking over the Hayes line from mainline railways, and another track link at Elmers End would complete the integration. As for further extensions, my preference for linkages to my envisioned London Orbital Railway is known and I will leave it to your imagination save for:

  1. I would project services north from the current Stratford International Terminal to Cheshunt over existing tracks and have all mainline train services run non-stop between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt
  2. Beckton is quite close to Barking, and I would extend that branch over new track to Barking and then existing track to Upminster.

OUTINGS ON THE NETWORK

Usually in these pieces I take you on a metaphorical journey along the line being surveyed, but there are too many parts of this network on which I am unqualified to comment for that to be appropriate this time, so I will settle instead for a selection of places of particular interest, starting with

TOWER GATEWAY

BACK AND FORTH

A station opened on the present site in 1882, was closed in 1884 in favour of a new site at Mark Lane and then in 1967 the old site was reopened under the present name Tower Hill. I am going to mention two significant sites served by this station before talking about its other connections…

THE TOWER OF LONDON

Started in the reign of William the Conqueror and augmented consistently thereafter, this is one of the most famous sites in London. One of the more spectacular commemorations of World War 1 during the centenary year was the ceramic poppy display.

Although I do nat have any photographs of the Tower, I do have the complete gallery for this medallion which went under the hammer in James and Sons March 2015 auction…

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TOWER BRIDGE

The other site I mention here is Tower Bridge, most distinctive of all the bridges across the river Thames. If you manage to be there when this bridge opens up to let a boat through you will not forget the experience. Again I provide a picture in the form of an old auction lot. This plaque was part of a lot that went un der the hammer in February…

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FENCHURCH STREET STATION

The only square on the London Monopoly board to contain all five vowels, and the only one of London’s main line railway terminals whose name does not appear on the London Underground map, Fenchurch Street is just across the road from Tower Hill. Trains from this station go to Tilbury, Southend and Shoeburyness.

THE DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY

Tower Gateway, just across the road from our title station, was one of the original termini of the Docklands Light Railway when that network first opened. In those days, it was very much smaller than it now is, with the other northern terminus at Stratford and the only other terminus at Island Gardens.

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ISLAND GARDENS/ CUTTY SARK/ GREENWICH

I am treating these three stations together because of how I personally would handle a visit to this area. Although it is no longer as splendid as it was when Island Gardens was the southern terminus of the DLR I would still choose to get off at Island Gardens, and walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the Thames to start my visit to Greenwich with a look at the Cutty Sark. Once I had finished with the old tea clipper I would head through Greenwich to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and the London Planetarium (which used to be based at Baker Street, next to Madame Tussauds but has now moved. I would then depart from Greenwich, so I personally would not make use of Cutty Sark station.

WOOLWICH

You could choose to alight at George V and walk under the Thames (yes there is a foot tunnel here as well). I have never actually visited the Woolwich Arsenal (you may have heard of what used to be their works football team – they moved to north London and dropped the Woolwich part of their title, also convincing the powers that be to change the name of Gillespie Road on the Piccadilly line in their honour), but I am familiar with Woolwich’s other great attraction, the Thames Barrier which is well worth a visit. Those who are really keen walkers might enjoy the walk along the Thames to Greenwich (it is about three miles) and the attractions there.

STRATFORD

Home of the London 2012 Olympics, and Olympic Park remains a great attraction. The Olympic Stadium is now the home ground of West Ham United, and still stages athletics events.

CANNING TOWN

The station itself is of some interest, as described in my post on the Jubilee line and not far from here is the Balfron Tower, with its stand-alone lift shaft, connected to the main building by covered walkways.

BANK

This station serves many lines, as mentioned in my piece about the Central line. It is noted for its fiendishly complicated layout (some consider the chances of locating the desired exit without incident as being equivalent to those of winning the lottery). This is the heart of the City, and to name every place of interest within walking distance of this station would be exhausting, so I will settle for a couple. This station is linked to Monument by escalators, and the Monument itself (it commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666) is well worth visiting. Designed by Christopher Wren it is precisely 202 feet tall and stands precisely 202 feet from the spot where the fire started. The other place I give a specific mention to is Draper’s Hall which hosted this year’s Great British Menu banquet which was celebrating the centenary of the Women’s Institute. The Waterloo & City line platforms are linked to the main station not by escalators by by travelators (moving ramps as opposed to moving stairs).

WATERLOO

I covered the attractions based near this station in great detail when writing about the Bakerloo line.

WIMBLEDON

For more on this location check out this post

MITCHAM

Mitcham Common is noted among cricket fans as being where Tom Richardson learned to play the game. Richardson is still Surrey’s all-time leading first class wicket taker. He took part in the first test match ever to won by a side who had been made to follow on, at Sydney in 1894, and eighteen months later at Old Trafford he nearly made it two, when Australia set 125 to win courtesy of an astonishing debut perfomance from K S Ranjitsinhji (62 in the first innings and 154 not out in the second) lost seven wickets, six of them to Richardson who bowled unchanged at one end before squeaking home.

CROYDON

Croydon is a major shopping area. It is also home to Whitgift School, on whose cricket ground Surrey play one match per season.

BECKENHAM

Beckenham is one of the venues at which Kent play county cricket matches. From 1886-1996 it was home to a professional grass-court tennis tournament.

MAP

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The three lines that feature in today’s post and their current connections.

 

 

 

The Jubilee Line

INTRODUCTION

This post will look at the past, present and possible future of London Underground’s newest line.

A COMPLEX HISTORY

The original plan for a new line had it being called the Fleet Line, but then someone decided that instead it should be named in honour of the Queen’s silver jubilee, hence Jubilee line. The line that opened in 1979 was made up of two very different sections, a brand spanking new section from Charing Cross to Baker Street, and then starting with the platforms it uses at Baker Street, taking over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line, which had itself come into being to ease congestion on the inner parts of the Metropolitan line. The terminus at Charing Cross was deliberately created with platforms facing southeast, with an extension into South East London and West Kent being envisaged…

THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN…

Two things prevented that eminently sensible scheme from ever coming to fruition. First, a desire for an extension of the Jubilee line to have a station at Canary Wharf, connecting with the Docklands Light Railway, and second a desire for a London Underground station to serve the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena), a particularly wasteful vanity project that its current incarnation cannot expunge. These two factors led to a change of plan, to an extension from Green Park, curving round via Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome to Stratford, and the closure of the old Charing Cross terminus.

THE FUTURE

Always in this series I have speculated based on the actual set up as I look at it, and I will still be doing this, but I will also provide my version, tying in with my other speculations, of what an extension from Charing Cross should have looked like but for the obsessions of first the Conservative government of my youth with the Canary Wharf project (which in a delicious irony bankrupted its developers) and then the Labour government with building a white elephant to celebrate the Millennium.

FROM STRATFORD

One possibility would be a connection to Central line tracks and running some services over these to Chelmsford. The other possibility is to go to Maryland, and run alongside main line tracks to Shenfield, thus increasing integration there. The fact is that this end of the Jubilee has been so badly mucked about that all possibilities are unsatsifying.

NORTH FROM STANMORE

A short extension northwards from Stanmore which includes a connection to the Orbital Railway scheme, a connection to my suggested northern extension of the Bakerloo and also to my plans for one part of the Northern line would complete as far as is possible the integration within the whole system of this line. My envisaged extension runs as follows: Caldecote, Aldenham, Garston, Leavesden, Abbots Langley, Bedmond and Hemel Hempstead.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN

The logical first port of call for an extension from the old Charing Cross terminus would have been Aldwych, and an interchange with the Piccadilly line. Having opted for the route to Maidstone for my Piccadilly line Aldwych plan, my suggestion for the rest of this extension would be: Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Walworth, Old Kent Road, Queens Road Peckham, Brockley, Crofton park, Catford, Grove Park, Sundridge, Elmstead Woods, Bickley, Jubilee Country Park, Orpington, Goddington, Chelsfield Village, Well Hill, Shoreham, Kemsing and Sevenoaks.

THE PRESENT

Time now for a journey along the current Jubilee line, starting at…

STRATFORD

A vast network interchanges, including the Central line, London Overground, The Docklands Light Railway and local, national and international rail services. This part of London staged the 2012 Olympics, the stadium now being the home of West Ham United FC.

WEST HAM

Interchanges with the District and Hammersmith & City lines, London Overground, the Docklands Light Railway and mainline railways.

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CANNING TOWN

This station has an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway. This station has some interesting stuff on display related to the area’s history…

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NORTH GREENWICH

The station that was built to serve the Millennium Dome. You can catch a along the Thames from here if you wish. This is also one end of the most pointless gimmick in British public transport history, a cable car ride that goes to Royal Victoria on the Docklands Light Railway. At least if it went to Cutty Sark it would taking people somewhere worth visiting.

CANARY WHARF

Interchange with the Docklands Light Railway, and one half of the reason why the Jubilee line was not extended in a sensible direction.

CANADA WATER

When this station was created it served two London Underground lines, the Jubilee and the East London, but the latter is now part of London Overground.

BERMONDSEY

The first station we reach that offers no interchanges.

LONDON BRIDGE

A mainline railway station from which trains serve various destinations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, also served by the Northern line. Some mainline trains go north from here to Cannon Street and some go north-east to Waterloo East and Charing Cross. This used to be a Thameslink station buut is no longer so. Among other things, this station serves HMS Belfast, a floating museum on the Thames and the London Dungeon.

SOUTHWARK

Right on the south bank of the Thames, this station has an interchange to Waterloo East. If coming from the East you might choose to alight here and walk along the river bank to reach the South Bank Centre.

WATERLOO

This station has been covered in vast detail in my post on the Bakerloo line, to which I commend your attention.

WESTMINSTER

For more on this station please visit my post on the District line.

GREEN PARK

Interchanges with the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, albeit over substantial distances. The station is  notable for leaf patterned tiling on the walls.

BOND STREET

A station that has no surface building, as the area above it is occupied by the West 1 shopping centre. Bond Street will be one of the central London stops in Crossrail (the eastern end of the network is already operating as TFL Rail, from Liverpool Street to Shenfield).

BAKER STREET

This is where the older section of the Jubilee, which was taken over from the Bakerloo, begins. More about this station can be found in these posts:

The Hammersmith and City Line

The Great Anomaly

Plans for Edgware Road-Wimbledon/ Kensington Olympia

The Bakerloo line

While we also have a post covering Baker Street’s most famous ever resident.

ST JOHNS WOOD

This is the station for Lord’s Cricket Ground. Thomas Lord of Thirsk was the first Yorkshireman to have a significant impact on cricket history, and the current ground, which dates from 1814 was the third he created for the Marylebone Cricket Club. Although Lord’s is popularly referred to as the home of cricket, the first two test matches on English soil were staged at the Oval. It was in 1884 that Lord’s first staged a test-match. Two years later Arthur Shrewsbury dominated the second ever test match at Lord’s, relieving W G Grace of this then record score for England with 164 (Grace reclaimed his record in the very next match at the Oval). In 1990 Lords saw a truly astonishing game, in which Graham Gooch scored 333 in the first innings and 123 in the second for England, India avoided the follow-on due to Kapil Dev hitting four successive sixes with one of the most genuine of genuine number 11s at the other end, and England still had enough time to complete the victory.

SWISS COTTAGE

The last station before the line rises to the surface.

FINCHLEY ROAD

Just before arriving at this station which has a cross-platform interchange with the Metropolitan line the Jubilee rises to the surface, emerging from the tunnel that was built in 1939 to accomodate what was then the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line. The undeground section of this route from Baker Street to here enabled the Metropolitan to stop serving the intermediate stations, and now, while Jubilee line trains stop everywhere, the next Metropolitan line stop is Wembley Park, while uniquely among current London Undeground lines the Metropolitan runs some fast services, whose next stop after Finchley Road is Harrow-on-the-Hill.

WEST HAMPSTEAD

Interchanges with London Overground and Thameslink. This section of line provides the reverse of the experience of travelling between Hammersmith and Acton Town – there it is subsurface trains stopping everywhere and tube trains running fast, while here it is the Metropolitan line trains that run fast while the Jubilee line trains stop.

KILBURN

Officially not an interchange but this station is very close to Brondesbury, Brondesbury Park, Kilburn Park and within comfortable walking distance of Kilburn Park should you wish to to use the services available from these stations.

WILLESDEN GREEN

In spite of their names, this station is not massively close to Willesden Junction, although one could quite comfortably walk between the two if one wished. Willesden Green is unusual in that is simultaneously in fare zones 2 and 3. Works are planned for this area – see here.

DOLLIS HILL

The fourth of five intermediate stations at which Metropolitan line trains do not call although they go past it.

NEASDEN

Nowadays a very minor station, but still the site of a very major depot (second only to Ruislip on the entire system).

WEMBLEY PARK

The station for Wembley Stadium. This where the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines diverge, the Metropolitan heading on to its own bifurcation point at Harrow-on-the-Hill, while the Jubilee heads north to…

KINGSBURY

For the first time since Swiss Cottage a station at which only Jubilee line trains are seen.

QUEENSBURY

There are many places that owe their eminence, and some cases their very existence to the development of railways of various kinds, but Queensbury takes this a stage further – it owes its name to the development of the railway. Said name was of course unimaginatively conceived as a partner for neighbouring Kingsbury.

CANONS PARK

The second to last station on our journey, and decidedly rural in appearance.

STANMORE

The end of the line. This station is accompanied by a huge number of sidings. This is a proper ‘interchange’ station, with bays for buses outside the front of the building. If you are up for a longish walk, Edgware is a couple of miles distant enabling a return along one branch of the Northern line.

MAPS

I conclude this post with some map pictures that should help to tell the story of the Jubilee line…

The Jubilee line and its current connections.
The Jubilee line and its current connections.
A geographical look at the territory covered by the Jubilee line (when this map was mad, the Stratford extension was under construction).
A geographical look at the territory covered by the Jubilee line (when this map was mad, the Stratford extension was under construction).

The remaining pictures all come from the Diagrammatic History and aim to make the history od the line clear…

The Baker Street element - note that although not used for passenger services the Bakerloo line still has a track link to the Jubilee, sometimes used for rolling stock transfer.
The Baker Street element – note that although not used for passenger services the Bakerloo line still has a track link to the Jubilee, sometimes used for rolling stock transfer.
The Wembley Park scenario.
The Wembley Park scenario.
The explanation for this part of the Jubilee line.
The explanation for this part of the Jubilee line.

 

The Bakerloo Line

INTRODUCTION

A continuation of my series of posts about the lines the make up London Underground. My last post in this category was this purely speculative effort.

RED TRAINS AND FLUCTUATIONS

The Baker Street and Waterloo railway opened in 1906, running initially from Lambeth North (originally called Westminster Bridge Road) to Baker Street. By 1910 it had been extended to run from Elephant and Castle to Edgware Road. “The Elephant” as it is colloquially known remains the southern terminus to this day, but the line was extended north in stages, to Paddington in 1913, Queens Park where it rose to the surface in 1915, and then running over mainline tracks, with “compromise” height (see Project Piccadilly for more detail) platforms on to Watford Junction, to which services started running in 1917.

For 22 years this remained the way of things, but the Metropolitan line’s inner reaches were becoming badly congested, and so in 1939 a new branch was opened, diverging from Baker Street to St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road, at which point it came to the surface and took over the intermediate stations between Finchley Road and Wembley Park, and also the Stanmore branch beyond Wembley Park.

The Bakerloo continued to run on these lines, with two branches to Watford Junction and Stanmore for 40 years, but over time it began to suffer from congestion, and a new tube line, planned as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations and hence called the Jubilee line was opened in 1979, running from Charing Cross to Green Park, Bond Street and Baker Street, at which point it took over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo.

In 1982 the remaining branch was cut back from Watford Junction to Queens Park, before being gradually re-extended as far as Harrow and Wealdstone (the current northern terminus). Here are some maps to help you get to grips with these developments…

London Underground in 1910 (the first five of these pics all come from The Spread of London's Underground
London Underground in 1910 (the first five of these pics all come from The Spread of London’s Underground

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ROLLING STOCK ROUND TRIP

When I first travelled on the Bakerloo line it still had red painted trains while every other line was running unpainted rolling stock. These red trains were the last of the 1938 stock, the very last one of which was withdrawn from service in 1985. Post WWII aluminium stock was introduced, and because aluminium dooes not corrode there is no necessity to paint it (or so people thought). The problem (apart from the fact that plain unpainted aluminium is boring and ugly) is that large basically white surfaces were taken as an invitation by graffiti artists, and although the spray paint could be washed off it left a ‘ghost’ behind it. Thus, the practice of painting rolling stock was reintroduced, although rather than being solid colour, it is nowadays in the corporate livery of London Underground. For those who wish to see what the 1938 stock was like, there is a carriage of that stock that you can look around at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden.

SPECULATIONS

This will be a brief section giving in outline of possible extensions of this line. The Elephant and Castle terminus is well positioned for a south-easterly extension towards Maidstone (see my post on the Central line for the significance of Maidstone in my overall vision). At the northern end of the line I would reinstate services to Watford Junction and then project Bakerloo line services further over the branch line that runs from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey, tying in with the northern part of the route of my envisioned London Orbital Railway which would run a faster service, stopping only at Garston between Watford and St Albans. I might have a 50:50 split of Bakerloo services at Watford Junction, with the other half running again alongside the Orbital railway to Rickmansworth. Here are a couple of maps and a postcard for you…

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The modern map in full detail.
The modern map in full detail.
The branch line I propose to subsume into an extended Bakerloo, with an indication the route to be followed by the Orbital Railway in this scheme.
The branch line I propose to subsume into an extended Bakerloo, with an indication the route to be followed by the Orbital Railway in this scheme.

THE PRESENT

We have looked at the past and at my vision for the future, so now it is back to the present, and we will be taking a journey along the line from Elephant & Castle to Harrow & Wealdstone.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE

The current southern terminus of the line, offering interchanges with the Northern line, Thameslink and South Eastern. To find out more about this location follow this link.

LAMBETH NORTH

This is one of only two stations on the stretch from Elephant and Castle to Baker Street that has no interchanges at all. It is the local station for the Imperial War Museum.

WATERLOO

A massive transport hub, which I covered in full detail on aspiblog and which I now reproduce here:

INTRODUCTION

This is the latest post in my series providing a station by station guide to London. Previous posts in the series can be viewed on the following link. Enjoy…

THE SOUTH BANK OF THE THAMES

Waterloo has more main line train platforms than any other station in the country, is served by four underground lines (all ‘tube’ rather than ‘surface’). The Waterloo and City line, originally run as part of the London & South West Railway, opened for business in 1898 making it the second oldest of London’s deep level tube lines after the City and South London Railway (now part of the Northern line). The Bakerloo line opened in 1906, the second underground line to serve Waterloo. A southbound extension of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hamsptead line to enable an amalgamation with the City and South London to form today’s Northern line took place in 1926, making it the third underground line to serve Waterloo. Finally, in 1999 the Jubilee line was extended via Waterloo, although the original intent to serve the still under-equipped parts of south east London and west Kent has been warped by a combination of greed and vanity about which more in my next post.

Waterloo is as the above makes clear a major interchange. It is also a superb destination in its own right, being home to The Old Vic theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, The complex of the Purcell Room and the Queen Elizabeth Hall (please note that these two venues are currently closed for maintenance work and will not be reopening before 2017), The National Film Theatre, The National Theatre,  besides serving as a good starting point for a walk along the Thames which depending on how energetic you are feeling could be stop at Southwark (Jubilee line), Blackfriars (District, Circle and main line railways), London Bridge (Northern, Jubilee, main line railways) or even further east.

See also my post on the District line which gives this station a passing mention.

EMBANKMENT

I covered this station from a District line perspective in the post referred to above. However, I missed one landmark when talking about it there: Cleopatra’s Needle, one of three Egyptian obelisks now adorning major global cities – its fellows can be seen in Paris and New York.

CHARING CROSS

This station takes its name from the memorials the Edward I built for his wife Eleanor, the Eleanor Crosses, of which Charing Cross is easily the most famous. Officially there is an interchange to the Northern line here as well as to mainline railways, but the interchanges at Waterloo and Embankment are both better options. The only reason for an interchange being shown is that when the Jubilee line opened in 1979 its southern terminus was at this station, and it offered an interchange with both lines. Originally, the Northern line station was called Strand and the Bakerloo, Trafalgar Square.

Although these posters were originally produced to advertise mainline railways, both feature Trafalgar Square.
Although these posters were originally produced to advertise mainline railways, both feature Trafalgar Square.

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Charing Cross is also famous as the centre of the 10 Km radius circle within which London Taxi drivers must be familiar with everything (this is called The Knowledge, an expression believed to be derived from Sherlock Holmes, who in The Adventure of the Red Headed League told Watson “it is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London”).

PICCADILLY CIRCUS

The only interchange between the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines. This is also one of the stations that serves London’s Theatreland. You can also see the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, colloquially known as the Eros Statue here. Finally, this is an area London notorious for its bright lights…

PCs

OXFORD CIRCUS

I mentioned this station in my piece about the Central Line. From a Bakerloo perspective, this station offers the only interchange between this line and the Victoria line, and it is a cross-platform interchange, one of two on this line. When this line was built, the company building it deliberately followed the line of the road, in this case Regent Street, to avoid paying easements to property owners beneath whom they passed. The resultant curve is really too tight for trains and means that speed is restricted on this part of the route.

REGENTS PARK

The other station on this line south of Baker Street to have no interchanges. It is one of two stations (the other being Camden Town on the Northern line) to serve London Zoo.

BAKER STREET

I covered this in a full-length post a while back, but before sharing that link, I need to correct an error in that post. The building that used by the London Planetarium is now owned by Madame Tussaud’s and used for an entirely different purpose. To see the Planetarium you now need to visit the Royal Observatory, walkable from either Cutty Sark (DLR) or Greenwich (mainline railways). Finally, this station is the second at which the Bakerloo has a cross-platform interchange, in this case with the Jubilee, which after all was created to take over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo.

MARYLEBONE

An interchange with Chiltern Railways, and trains to Aylesbury and Birmingham. The other interchanges between London Underground and this network are at Harrow-on-the-Hill (Metropolitan) and West Ruislip (Central).

EDGWARE ROAD

Very briefly the northern terminus of the line.

PADDINGTON

I have previously produced a full length post about this station.

PADDINGTON

THREE STATIONS BECOME ONE

Paddington was one the original seven stations that opened as The Metropolitan Railway on January 10th 1863 – it was the western terminus of the line, although right from the start there were track links to the Great Western Railway, which supplied the Metropolitan with rolling stock before it developed its own. In 1864 the western terminus became Hammersmith, over the route of today’s Hammersmith and City line, and the origins of the station can still be seen because the H&C platforms are structurally part of the mainline station, although ticket barriers now intervene between them and the rest. The second set of London Underground platforms to be opened at Paddington were also originally opened by the Metropolitan, although they are now served by the Circle and the Edgware Road branch of the District line. They opened in 1868 as Paddington (Praed Street) – as opposed to Paddington (Bishop’s Road), the original 1863 station. In 1913 a northern extension of the Bakerloo line included a deep level station at Paddington. By 1948 the suffixes of both ‘surface’ stations had been dropped, and all three sets of platforms were known simply as Paddington.

A LITERARY DISAPPOINTMENT

In 2013, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan Railway Penguin brought out a series of books, one for each line. I wrote about all of these books at the time, but I am going to mention Philippe Parreno’s “effort” about the Hammersmith and City line again. Given the line that contains all seven of the original 1863 stations Mr Parreno produced a book that contained no words, just a series of pictures. Had these pictures been meaningful and clearly associated with the line and its stations this might have been acceptable, but these pictures were blurry and meaningless (it was barely even possible to tell what they were supposed to be of).

OTHER LITERARY ASSOCIATIONS

Of course, when thinking of Paddington’s literary associations the one that springs instantly to mind is that with the fictional world’s best known refugee: Paddington Bear. Also however, Dr Watson (see “Baker Street” in this same series) had his first practice here after moving out of Baker Street to set up home with his wife (see A Scandal in Bohemia for more details).

Additionally Paddington is home to London’s Floating Bookshop.

I also mentioned one aspect of this station in my post on the District line:

PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)

Why have I given this station a suffix that does not feature in it’s current title? Because the current plain “Paddington” designation is misleading – although the interchange to the Bakerloo line’s Paddington is a sensible one to have, you do far better for the mainline station and Hammersmith & City line to go on one stop to Edgware Road, make a quick cross-platform change to the Hammersmith & City and arrive at platforms that are structurally part of the mainline railway station (the two extra stops – one in each direction – plus a cross platform interchange taking less long between them than the official interchange up to the mainline station from here. Therefore to avoid misleading people the title of this station should either by given a suffix or changed completely, and the only interchange that should be shown is that with the Bakerloo. I have previously given Paddington a full post to itself, but failed to make the foregoing points with anything approaching sufficient force.

WARWICK AVENUE, MAIDA VALE
AND KILBURN PARK

These three stations are the last stations that the Bakerloo calls at before rising to the surface. Maida Vale is notable for this mosaic version of one of the world’s best known logos:

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QUEENS PARK

This is where the Bakerloo line rises to the surface and joins mainline railways for the rest of its northward course. To the north of this station the Bakerloo line passes through a train shed – the only such journey a passenger can make on London Underground.

WILLESDEN JUNCTION

This is a station on two levels. At the lower level are the Bakerloo line platforms and those served by train services running to Watford, the midlands and the north-west and also south to Kensington Olympia, Clapham Junction and beyond. At the higher level are platforms carrying London Overground services on a route that nowadays runs between Richmond and Stratford, although it used have a terminus at North Woolwich. The Stratford – North Woolwich section is now part of the Docklands Light Railway, with a small extension across the Thames to Woolwich Arsenal.

HARROW AND WEALDSTONE

The current northern terminus. Also, the first stop out of Euston for services terminating at Milton Keynes.

BOOKS AND MAPS

The modern London Connections and London & Southeast Map can be picked up free from various locations.

 

The Spread of London`s Underground

The Spread of London’s Underground can be obtained from The London Transport Museum for £8.95

 

The current edition of London Underground: A Diagrammatic History can be obtained from Stanfords for £8.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans for Edgware Road – Wimbledon/ Kensington Olympia

INTRODUCTION

In my post on the District line, originally published on aspiblog, I presented a scheme that would see the western end of the line turned into a giant loop, incorporating two suburban railway branches which currently serve Windsor & Eton. I deferred covering my plans for the remaining branches other than indicating that they would not remain part of the District. I am now going to fill in that gap.

LONDON OVERGROUND AND FURTHER INTEGRATION OF THE SYSTEM

The Metropolitan and District lines and their spin offs such as the Hammersmith and City line were built to the same specifications as main line railways, and I make use of this fact. Put simply, this section of the district would become the nucleus of a new section of London Overground. Kensington Olympia is already part of London Overground, and I would run trains on this branch, which might approach under my scheme from either Wimbledon or Edgeware Road through by way of the existing Willesden Junction connection to Watford Junction and a connection to my envisaged London Orbital Railway, outlined in this post. Edgware Road serves little purpose as a terminus station, and I would do one of two things to improve this situation:

  1. Project this route over existing tracks to Aldgate East, reopen the old track link from Aldgate East to Shadwell, connecting to that section of London Overground (formerly the East London Line).
  2. A more modest extension along the north side of the Circle line, followed by establishing a track connection to the Thameslink platforms at Farringdon, then utilising the currently unused former Thameslink platforms at Barbican and Moorgate, giving this part of the network a connection to the city.

That leaves the Wimbledon spur to attend to. A southern extension would provide this with a connection to the orbital mentioned earlier in this piece, and a further southern extension beyond the orbital would afford yet further connections to main line rail services. The full extension would run as follows from Wimbledon: Bushey Mead, Motspur Park, Malden Manor, Tolworth, Hook (connection to the orbital), Claygate, Oxshott, Pachesham Park, Leatherhead, Boxhill & Westhumble and Dorking.

DORKING INTERCHANGE

The Dorking terminus is not just because from Leatherhead the line follows an existing route. It also opens up some extra connections – southwards to Horsham, and also a very short walk enables one to get to Dorking Deepdene station and a line that runs from Reading to Redhill.

A map, courtesy of google, showing the short distance between Dorking main station and Dorking Deepdene
A map, courtesy of google, showing the short distance between Dorking main station and Dorking Deepdene
Connections in and around Dorking.
Connections in and around Dorking.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THESE ROUTES

I am going to start my metaphorical journey at…

DORKING

Aside from the connections already mentioned, Dorking has a place in cricket history as the birthplace of Harry Jupp. Jupp was an adhesive (in more ways than one as we shall see) opening batsman, who with designated gloveman Edward Pooley still confined in a New Zealand prison after a fracas there, kept wicket for England in the first ever Test Match in March 1877. Once playing in a benefit game in his home town he was bowled early on and coolly replaced the bails. On being asked “ain’t you going Juppy?”, he said “No, not at Dorking”. This line of Jupp’s was subsequently used as the title of a radio programme about cricket history.

BOXHILL AND WESTHUMBLE

This station is the start and end point for a  splendid walk on which many moons I go I led a walking group of which I was part. The website www.walkingclub.org.uk has a Box Hill walk which you can view here.

WIMBLEDON

As well as offering interchanges to mainline railways and the Croydon Tramlink, Wimbledon has much to offer in its own right. Wimbledon Common, home of the Wombles is here. It is a great place to walk around, and for those who like to follow a set route, walk 81 in 100 Walks In Greater London starts at Wimbledon Station and takes you across Wimbledon Common and adjoining Putney Heath to finish at East Putney Station…

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The book can be bought from Book Depository (free worldwide delivery) for £8.99

SOUTHFIELDS

This is the local station for the most famous tennis championships in the world, covered in detail in this postFor those who want to look ahead, the Wimbledon 2016 website is already available for viewing.

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PUTNEY BRIDGE

One of various points from which you can watch the Boat Race (second oldest of the “varsity” sports contests – the first varsity cricket match was played in 1827, two years before the first boat race). Also the home station for Fulham FC, who number Richard Osman of Pointless fame among their fans.

PARSONS GREEN

Under previous plans for a Hackney-Chelsea line, District line trains would have terminated here. In my scheme, this station would be an interchange between London Overground and the Woking-Chelmsford line (my extended version of the Hackney-Chelsea as described here).

BROMPTON ROAD

The London Overground route from Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia has a stop here, so this would be a link between the existing London Overground network and the extensions thereof proposed in this post.

EARLS COURT

Although at the moment there is no London Overground station at Earls Court, this would change in my scheme, to provide interchange with the District and Piccadilly lines. While pretty much everything else to be said about Earls Court is contained within my previous post “Triangle Sidings“, I include here a link to the website of the Save Earls Court campaign, who are fighting to prevent demolition of the historic exhibition centre.

Beyond Earls Court our route diverges, one branch heading north via Kensington Olympia to Watford Junction and the northern and western parts of my planned Orbital Railway, while the other goes to Edgware Road, and thence on to Baker Street, Great Portland Street and one of two possible developments beyond there.

It is that latter section that I am going to concentrate on next, starting with…

HIGH STREET KENSINGTON

This station is now directly below a major shopping centre, and therefore has no surface level building.

NOTTING HILL GATE

This station has been the subject of a full length blog post, which I reproduce below…

A CARNIVAL, A THEATRE AND A FILM

The District and Circle line station at Notting Hill Gate was opened in 1868. In 1900 The Central London Railway, forerunner of today’s Central line, opened between Shepherd’s Bush and Bank, with a station at Notting Hill Gate. It was not until 1959 that the two stations were officially linked. There is no surface building at all, merely a staircase leading down from each side of the main road to an underground ticket hall. The District and Circle line platforms still have their original roof, a remarkable arched canopy.

NOTTING HILL

Probably these days this film is what most people think about when this area comes up. I did enjoy it the one time I watched it, but I am far from being convinced that it actually did the area any favours.

THE GATE

Taking it’s name from the pub above which you can find it, The Gate Theatre has staged some remarkable productions in its tight confines. I remember seeing several plays by Lope De Vega performed there.

THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL

Before the making of the film, this was what the area was most widely known for – London’s biggest annual street festival. Unfortunately beyond mentioning it I can say little of it because I never attended since neither vast crowds nor continuous loud noise have ever appealed to me.

ODDS AND ENDS

Before displaying a couple of pictures, a little more about the area. The layout and some of the names of the streets in this part of London reflect the fact that a racecourse was planned for the area but the developers went bankrupt. Now for those pictures…

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The Diagrammatic History

PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)

Here is some detailed information about this station. I am going to top it up with this which has previously appeared in the piece about the District Line but bears repeating because it is quite immportant.

Why have I given this station a suffix that does not feature in it’s current title? Because the current plain “Paddington” designation is misleading – although the interchange to the Bakerloo line’s Paddington is a sensible one to have, you do far better for the mainline station and Hammersmith & City line to go on one stop to Edgware Road, make a quick cross-platform change to the Hammersmith & City and arrive at platforms that are structurally part of the mainline railway station (the two extra stops – one in each direction – plus a cross platform interchange taking less long between them than the official interchange up to the mainline station from here. Therefore to avoid misleading people the title of this station should either by given a suffix or changed completely, and the only interchange that should be shown is that with the Bakerloo. I have previously given Paddington a full post to itself, but failed to make the foregoing points with anything approaching sufficient force.

EDGWARE ROAD

The current terminus of this branch of the District, but under my scheme will be an ordinary through station.

BAKER STREET

Lots of detail about this station:

HISTORY, HORROR AND DETECTIVES

Baker Street was one of the original stations that opened in 1863 as The Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground public transport system, on January the 10th 1863. Those platforms, two of 10 at that station (the most on the entire system) to be served by underground trains, are still in service today, and have been restored to look as they would have done when first opened. Ironically, they are no longer served by the Metropolitan line, which uses two terminal and two through platforms just to the north of the originals, its tracks joining those of the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines just east of Baker Street. By way of explanation I turn to Douglas Rose’s London Underground: A Diagrammatic History


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The other two lines that serve this station are the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines. Baker Street is a division point between the old and new Jubilee lines – south of Baker Street is all new track, northwards old, dating from 1939, when it was opened as a branch of the Bakerloo, taking some of the strain of the Metropolitan by taking over services to Stanmore and assuming sole responsibility for intermediate stops between Baker Street and Finchley Road, and also between Finchley Road and Wembley Park. When the Jubilee opened in 1979 it comprised the old Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo and three stations south of Baker Street.

Reverting temporarily to the Metropolitan, those four platforms at Baker Street, from which trains go to a variety of destinations developed from what started as a single track branch going only as far as Swiss Cottage. It grew out of all recognition during the tenure of Edward Watkin, who saw the Metropolitan as a crucial link in his plan for a railway system to link his three favourite cities, London, Paris and Manchester. At one time, as my next picture shows, the Metropolitan went far beyond it’s current reach…

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Baker Street is home to Madame Tussaud’s which merits a visit. The Planetarium that used to be next door to Madame Tussaud’s has been relocated to Greenwich while the old Planetarium building is now part of Madame Tussaud’s.

Of course, no post about Baker Street would be complete without something sbout it’s most famous ever resident, Mr Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.

I am an avid fan of the great detective, having read all the original stories and many modern stories that feature the great detective. As well as owning a respectable collection of my own, I regularly borrow books about this subject from the libraries that I use…

A remarkable recent find.

The great originals.

Some of my modern Holmes stories.

To end this post, along with my customary hopes that you have enjoyed it and that you will share it, a couple more maps, first a facsimile of the original Beck map of 1933 and then for comparison a facsimile of the 1926 Underground Map…

When Beck first produced a prototype of this map in 1931 his superiors thought that no-one would like it - but eventually they agreed to a trial of it in 1933, and now every public transport system in the world uses schematic diagrams of this type.

When Beck first produced a prototype of this map in 1931 his superiors thought that no-one would like it - but eventually they agreed to a trial of it in 1933, and now every public transport system in the world uses schematic diagrams of this type.

For more about the last two maps above check out this dedicated post.

FARRINGDON

The current Farringdon station opened in 1865, when the Metropolitan Railway (as it then was) expanded eastward for the first time from the old terminus just to the south of here at Farringdon Street (it had already reached west to Hammersmtih in 1864). As the colours of the heading indicate it is currently served by the Hammersmith and City, Circle and Metropolitan lines. There is also an overground station served by Thameslink.

I have a couple of shots from an old A-Z to show the area at surface level…

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For three months in 1997 I worked (for experience plus travel expenses) at Interpretations, based in Bakers Yard, the near the junction of Farringdon Road and Rosebery Avenue, the first job I ever had.

Also, tying in with two of my interests (real ale and English literature), just to the north of this junction is a pub called the Betsey Trotwood, which I would recommend anyone to visit.

Just south of here is City Thameslink, a train station with exceptionally long platforms, owing to the fact that it was created by amalgamating two old stations, Holborn Viaduct and Ludgate Hill into one.

I end but setting this historic station in context with the aid of the Diagrammatic History…

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The Diagrammatic History

ALDGATE EAST

This is the point at which the other version of my scheme would part ways with the Hammersmith and City, making use of an old track link to Shadwell, and a link up to that section of London Overground.

SHADWELL

An interchange between London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway.

WAPPING

This is the deepest station to have been built using the old cut-and-cover method of construction, 60 feet below the surface. The tunnel connecting this station to Rotherhithe was originally opened as a pedestrian tunnel. This project was designed by Marc Isambard Brunel, and when the chief engineer died and he needed to find a quick replacement he gave his son the job. Isambard Kingdom Brunel proved more than adequate for the task in hand, and an illustrious engineering career was launched.

CANADA WATER

A new station on a very old section of track, this station was created to provide an interchange between the Jubilee line and what was then the East London line.

SURREY QUAYS

This in the old days of the East London line used by a bifurcation point, but is now a trifurcation point, with lines going to New Cross, West Croydon & Crystal Palace (via New Cross Gate, the other original terminus) and Clapham Junction.

At this point we will revert to our other section beyond Earls Court, that going via Kensington Olympia.

WILLESDEN JUNCTION

This is two stations in one, with a low level station featuring the Bakerloo line and London Overground (the branch we will be joining), and a high level station featuring the original Silverlink Metro line that became the nucleus of London Overground, which started life as a Richmond-North Woolwich service and is now Richmond – Stratford, with the section beyond Stratford incorporated into the Docklands Light Railway.

HARROW AND WEALDSTONE

The current northern terminus of the Bakerloo Line.

WATFORD JUNCTION

The first stop for long-distance trains from London Euston.

AN EXTRA SPECULATION

Astute observers who have reached this point may have noted that my suggested extension along the north side of the Circle makes use that lines platforms at Liverpool Street, and that there are actually some London Overground services that currently depart from Liverpool Street. Although it would require much ore work, which is why I have not listed it as something for current consideration, I could envisage the creation of a track link from Moorgate to a point just beyond Liverpool Street on that section of London Overground, and through running of services to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.

CONCLUSION

This is the first time I have produced an entirely speculative post, as post to including a speculative section in a post about a current line. Whether it has worked or not is up to you to decide, but I have enjoyed creating it.

 

 

Going Green

INTRODUCTION

The title of this post comes from the title of Piers Connor’s history of the District Line, which is getting the aspiblog treatment this week…

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HISTORY

As with that of it’s second youngest, the Victoria, almost precisely a century later, London’s second oldest underground line’s initial opening occurred in three phases between 1868 and 1871. After the third and final phase of opening the Metropolitan District Railway (as it was officially called at that time) looked like this:

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A running theme of these early years were squabbles between the District and the Metropolitan over the completion of The Inner Circle (now the Circle line) and who could run their trains where. In the 1870s the District started producing maps for the benefit of their passengers, as these pictures show…

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I do not know what these very early maps looked like, but here is a picture of my facsimile of a pre-Beck geographical map…

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The Richmond and Wimbledon branches were both opened during the 1870s, followed by branches to Hounslow (the origin of the Heathrow branch of today’s Piccadilly line), Uxbridge (again handed over to the Piccadilly in the 1930s) and between 1883 and 1885, before being pared back to Ealing Broadway, Windsor (more on this later). The current eastern terminus of Upminster was reached (by a grant of running powers rather than new build) in 1902, and for a brief period as this reproduction postcard shows occasional District line trains ran to Southend and Shoeburyness…

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Additionally, a branch to Kensington Olympia was created, which linked to a corresponding branch south from whatt is now the Hammersmith and City. Also, sometimes services ran from the district line north of Olympia to Willesden Junction. Additionally, there was a spur to South Acton and even briefly a terminus specifically to serve Hounslow Barracks.

In the 1930s a lot of the western services (Hounslow and Uxbridge specifically) were transferred to the Piccadilly line, while the Hounslow Barracks service ceased to exist, and the South Acton spur was abandoned.

Nevertheless, with main western termini at Wimbledon, Richmond and Ealing, and a cross branch serving Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Kensington Olympia the District remains a very complicated line.

SPECULATIONS

Although I leave the eastern end of the line unchanged, my suggestions for the District involve some very dramatic changes. My plans for the Wimbledon, Edgware Road and Olympia branches will form the subject of a later post, and for the moment I will settle for saying that these branches would cease to form part of the District line, and that as with my changes involving branches that would remain part of the District line the plans involve making use of a feature that might otherwise be problematic (see The Great Anomaly), the fact that being one the older lines, this line was built to mainline specifications. Although my plans for the Richmond and Ealing branches are big, they involve only a small amount of new track – enough to link the lines that serve Windsor and Eton Riverside and Windsor and Eton Central forming a giant loop at the western end of the line. This loop would link with my suggested London Orbital Railway at Staines and at West Drayton. Thus in place of the current fiendishly complex District Line there would be ‘horizontal frying pan’ line, with Upminster to Turnham Green serving as the handle in this model. It would also make possible a reissue with appropriate modifications of this old poster…

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A GUIDED TOUR OF THE PRESENT-DAY DISTRICT LINE

From Richmond to Gunnersbury the District and London Overground share a route, which features one of only two above-ground crossings of the Thames on the entire network (the other is Putney Bridge – East Putney on the Wimbledon branch of the District). Richmond features a deer park, as advertised on this old poster…

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Kew Gardens actually has a pub that is built into the station, and serves a world famous botanic garden…

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Gunnersbury is not very significant, although the flying junction that this branch forms with the rest of the District line just beyond here and just before Turnham Green is very impressive, to the extent that it too has featured in a PR campaign back in the day…

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The section from Ealing Broadway to Acton Town includes a depot which features the steepest gradient on the system at 1 in 28 (passengers are not carried over this gradient – the steepest passenger carrying gradient is 1 in 32). At Ealing Common the District and Piccadilly lines converge, not to diverge again until the Piccadilly goes underground just east of Barons Court and even then, the Piccadilly follows the District at a deeper level until South Kensington. Between Acton Town and Turnham Green the District calls at Chiswick Park. After Turnham Green the District has stations at Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park. From the latter the remains of the viaduct that once carried trains from what is now the Hammersmith and City lines onto these tracks can still be seen. Beyond Hammersmith and Barons Court the District calls at West Kensington before arrving at the grand meeting point of Earls Court. Immediately east of Earls Court is Gloucester Road (pronounced glos-ta not glue-cess-ta – Americans please note), which at platform level has been restored to something like it would have looked in 1868, while the frontage at surface level is as nearly restored as the creation of a new shopping centre permits…

The inside back cover of the Piers Connor book - a look along one of the restored platforms at Gloucester Road.
The inside back cover of the Piers Connor book – a look along one of the restored platforms at Gloucester Road.
From London Underground: The Official Handbook, a picture of Gloucester Road at surface level.
From London Underground: The Official Handbook, a picture of Gloucester Road at surface level.

One stop further east at South Kensington is an original shopping arcade of the sort that several stations were provided with back in the day, complete with some splendid decorative ironwork (pictures photographed from London underground: The Official Handbook…)

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One stop on from South Kensington is Sloane Square, which I remember from growing up in London is the station that served Peter Jones (a huge department store). Also, a large pipe above the platforms here is the only routinely visible sign of the river Westbourne (for more detail click here). From Sloane Square, the line visits Victoria (the ultimate transport hub). We are about enter a section of the journey featuring a lot of landmarks, so I will be giving each station I cover a section heading, starting with…

ST JAMES PARK

This station is the local station for London Underground’s official headquarters, located at 55 Broadway. It is also, along with Temple and Mansion House one only three stations on this section if the district to be served only by the district and circle lines.

WESTMINSTER

The local station for the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (officially the Collegiate Church of St Peter). The Abbey was originally founded by Edward the Confessor, who reigned from 1042-1066. While many look askance at the amounts of money trousered by folks in the House of Commons these people are at least elected, whereas in the House of Lords large sums  of money go to people who are not elected, some of whom barely bother to attend and the vast majority of whom have demonstrated time and again that they are a waste of space. Even Baron Kinnock of Bedwelty, who has personally profited hugely from the existence of the House of Lords reckons that it is ripe for abolition. Since the opening of the warped (I will not dignify it with the word modified) Jubilee line extension in 1999 there has been an interchange here.

EMBANKMENT

The station that has been through more name changes than any other on the system (people couldn’t decide whether Charing Cross, Embankment or both should be emphasised). The issue was put to bed for good in 1979 when the Jubilee opened, and its Charing Cross terminus created interchanges with what had previously been separate stations, Trafalgar Square on the Bakerloo line and Strand on the Northern, which meant that with Charing Cross definitively settled on for the marginally more northerly of the stations, this one had to be plain Embankment. The Embankment from which this station takes its name was designed as part of the building of this line by Joseph William Bazalgette, who also designed London’s sewer system. His great-great grandson Peter is a well known TV producer with some good series to his credit and Big Brother to his debit. This, photographed from the Piers Connor book is a diagram of the profile of the Embankment…

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TEMPLE

This is the only station name to feature both on London Underground and the Paris Metro (it also features on the Hong Kong network). In the days before the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly line was axed there was an interchange here, as Temple is very close to Aldwych.

BLACKFRIARS

A station which derives its name from the Dominicans, who were referred to as black friars because of the colour of their habits. There is an interchange with both Thameslink and South Eastern here. Also, it is one end point of short scenic walk, which takes in a bridge over the Thames, Gabriel’s Wharf, The Oxo Tower, the Bernie Spain Gardens and the vast collection of attractions that between them constitute The South Bank, finally ending at Waterloo. Also if you go East instead of West after crossing the river you can take in the ruins of Winchester Palace (the former London residence of the Bishop of Winchester) and Clink Street, once home to a prison so notorious that ‘clink’ became slang for prison, a building that now houses London Dungeon, ending at London Bridge (you could continue yet further east – to Greenwich or even Woolwich were you feeling strong). I have done Waterloo – London Bridge and also Greenwich-London Bridge, and indeed Woolwich-Greenwich, so all these indvidual stretches are comfortably manageable. Also in this part of the world is Sainsbury’s main post-room where I once temped for a week (giving the agency feedback I took the opportunity to make it clear that I would not take any more work in that particular establishment – it was hell).

MANSION HOUSE

This name is either contradictory (a mansion is different from a house, being much larger) or tautologous (a mansion in a kind of large house) depending on your definitions. From 1871-1884 it was the eastern end of the District. The building after which the station is named is “the home and office of the Lord Mayor of the city of London” – an office filled four times by Richard Whittington (for once the story underplayed the the truth) in the fourteenth century.

CANNON STREET

A mainline rail terminus, albeit not a very significant one.

MONUMENT

I mentioned this station in my post about the Central line because it is connected to the various lines that serve by Bank by means of escalators. This interchange was first created in 1933, but the current arrangement dates only from the opening of the Docklands Light Railway terminus at Bank.

TOWER HILL

I have given this station an individual post to itself. From here the Circle and District diverge, the Circle going round to Aldgate while the District heads to Aldgate East. It is also at this point that I abandon for the moment separate station headings.

THE EASTERN END OF THE LINE

At Aldgate East the Hammersmtih and City line joins the District and they run together as far as Barking. In between Aldgate East and Whitechapel there used be a line connecting to Shadwell (formerly East London Line, now London Overground). Whitechapel has been in the news recently because a museum that was given planning permission on the basis of being dedicated to the women of the East End turned out when it opened to be dedicated to Jack the Ripper. This has been the subject of a vigorous 38Degrees campaign seeking both to get the monstrosity closed and to establish a proper East End Womens Museum. Some of those involved in the campaign met with the mayor of Tower Hamlets recently, and he has apparently been sympathetic and has confirmed that he too is unhappy with the way the planning process was subverted by an act of calculated dishonesty. Beyond Whitechapel, the line has an interchange with the Central line at Mile End which is unique for an interchange between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines in being cross-platform and underground, Bow Road, which has an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway station at Bow Church is the last station on the line to be in tunnel. East of Bow Road the line rises on a 1 in 45 gradient to emerge into the open some way before Bromley-by-Bow. West Ham is nowadays a major interchange, featuring mainline railways, the Jubilee line, the Docklands Light Railway (this section which runs from Stratford to Woolwich was once part of the line that became the nucleus of London Overground, which originally ran from Richmond to North Woolwich, but now terminates at Stratford) and of course the District and Hammersmith & City lines. The main line railway runs side by side with the District to Upminster, and then continues to Southend and Shoeburyness. Upton Park is until 2017, when the club in question move to the Olympic Stadium, the local station for West Ham United’s home ground. East Ham is now on the map as the location of a new trampoline park and laser maze. For more on this click on the picture below to read Time Out’s piece on the new attraction.

A trampoline park with a laser maze and a mega slide is coming to London this spring

Barking in the eastern limit of the Hammersmith & City, also the terminus of London Overground branch from Gospel Oak and an interchange with mainline railways. Upminster is the easternmost destination currently served by London Underground.

EDGWARE ROAD, OLYMPIA AND WIMBLEDON

For this section I will be reverting to individual headings for station names…

EDGWARE ROAD

A four platform station, where the Hammersmith & City line and the District and Circle lines meet (do not be fooled by the fact that both have stations called Paddington). This is the only one of the original 1863 stations to be served by District line trains.

PADDINGTON (PRAED STREET)

Why have I given this station a suffix that does not feature in it’s current title? Because the current plain “Paddington” designation is misleading – although the interchange to the Bakerloo line’s Paddington is a sensible one to have, you do far better for the mainline station and Hammersmith & City line to go on one stop to Edgware Road, make a quick cross-platform change to the Hammersmith & City and arrive at platforms that are structurally part of the mainline railway station (the two extra stops – one in each direction – plus a cross platform interchange taking less long between them than the official interchange up to the mainline station from here. Therefore to avoid misleading people the title of this station should either by given a suffix or changed completely, and the only interchange that should be shown is that with the Bakerloo. I have previously given Paddington a full post to itself, but failed to make the foregoing points with anything approaching sufficient force.

BAYSWATER

This station is on the north side of Hyde Park, and like the two on either side of it still has the same style of roof over the platforms as when it opened – a style now not seen anywhere else on the system.

NOTTING HILL GATE

I refer you to my previous post devoted to this station.

HIGH STREET KENSINGTON

This is the point at which this branch of the District diverges from the Circle line. The District branch continues south to the “Crewe of the Underground”, Earls Court, while the circle goes round to Gloucester Road (this section of track features in the Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, being the point at which the body of Arthur Cadogan West was fed through a rear window of a flat occupied by one Hugo Oberstein onto the roof of a conveniently stationary train, where it remained until being shaken off at Aldgate. Mycroft Holmes was sufficiently discombobulated by the case to change his routine (a thing so rare that his brother the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes likened it to seeing a tram car in a country lane) and pay a visit to Baker Street to seek assistance.

OLYMPIA

Trains to all manner of destinations pass through this station, but for the District it is a mere side branch..

WEST BROMPTON

An interchange with a London Overground branch. This station is fully open to the elements, as are all the others we have still to pass through.

FULHAM BROADWAY

The local station for Chelsea FC’s home ground, Stamford Bridge.

PARSONS GREEN

This would become a District line terminus, with an interchange to the new Hackney-Chelsea line, under official plans. In my personal ideas for the future it would be an interchange point but no terminus.

PUTNEY BRIDGE

The local station for Fulham FC’s home ground, Craven Cottage. This would also be the best station to travel to if you wished to catch the Boat Race, second oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests.

Like some the other posters I have displayed in this post this one would need adapting, but it could certainly be reissued.
Like some the other posters I have displayed in this post this one would need adapting, but it could certainly be reissued.

The oldest of all the inter-university sporting contests is the Varsity Cricket Match, first played in 1827, two years before the first Boat Race took place.

EAST PUTNEY

This station is the first of a section that used to be mainline railway.

SOUTHFIELDS

Another stop with a sporting connection – this is the local station for the world’s most famous tennis championship – Wimbledon. Although I have already given this station a full post, I show this picture again…

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WIMBLEDON PARK

The second to last stop on our journey.

WIMBLEDON

As we approach this station, we first join up with the mainline services from Waterloo coming in from Earlsfield, and then with Thameslink services coming in from Haydons Road. Wimbledon is also one terminus of the London Tram system. Along the north side of the tracks as one approaches Wimbledon runs Alexandra Road, and we pass underneath a bridge carrying Gap Road across the tracks to a junction.

ODDS AND ENDS

I have a few promotional pictures still to share, and some maps to round out this post. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed the ride…

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The District line and its history.
The District line and its history.
The District line and its connections.
The District line and its connections.
Close focus on the two Windsor branches that I would incorporate into the District making a loop at the western end.
Close focus on the two Windsor branches that I would incorporate into the District making a loop at the western end.

The Central Line

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest addition to the series of posts themed around public transport in London. Although the main theme is the Central line, there is going to be much more in the speculative section than usual for reasons that will become obvious.

HISTORY

The first proposals for a Central London Railway were made in 1892, and the CLR opened, running from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank, in 1900.

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Early proposals for extensions to this line included turning it into a loop, with a smaller loop through Liverpool Street to the east of the main line (think Ptolemy’s epicycles!).

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After this was rejected, there were two plans involving connections to Richmond…

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Neither of these went through either. In the 1930s two proposals, both involving existing lines operated by mainline railway companies did ultimately lead to serious extensions (before these two were incorporated into the line it still only ran from Liverpool Street to Ealing Broadway)…

The western extension did come into being as far as West Ruislip, and the mainline railway still calls at Denham on its way to High Wycombe, although there is no station at Harefield Road. The eastern extension happened as shown, although Blake Hall was closed down in 1982, and the entire stretch from Epping to Ongar in 1994.
The western extension did come into being as far as West Ruislip, and the mainline railway still calls at Denham on its way to High Wycombe, although there is no station at Harefield Road. The eastern extension happened as shown, although Blake Hall was closed down in 1982, and the entire stretch from Epping to Ongar in 1994.

When Central line trains started running to West Ruislip in 1957, the line had taken the shape it would have until 1994, with the closure of the Ongar end of the line. More about this and the history of the line can be found in J. Graeme Bruce and Desmond F. Croome’s book “The Twopenny Tube” (named in honour of the Central London Railway’s original flat fare back in 1900).

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Another sine qua non for anyone interested in the Central line is Danny Dorling’s “The 32 Stops”, which takes us on a journey from West Ruislip to Woodford (the section of line within Greater London), and is comfortably the best of Penguin’s 150th anniversary series (albeit not by as big a margin as the Parreno travesty in connection with Hammersmtih & City line is the worst).

SPECULATIONS

As mentioned in my introduction, this going to be detailed, because between the western and eastern ends of the Central line and my ideas for the Hainault loop I pretty much have to go in to detail regarding my vision of a London Orbital Railway. To set the scene, my plans for the southern portion of the Hainault loop are an extended version of the plans for a Hackney-Chelsea line shown on this adapted 1994 Journey Planner…

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Rather than this proposal, which abbreviates but does not eliminate the Wimbledon branch of the district, my plan puts the central and Hainault loop portions of that line into a longer, better integrated whole that runs from Woking to Chelmsford. As for the northern part of the loop, that will have to wait for a later post except to say that trains running that side of the loop would follow the new line from Hainault to Chelsmford and that the rest of the plan also involves the Victoria line.

THE LONDON ORBITAL RAILWAY

This is not to be a completely new route, but to utilise existing track where possible, and link up all the major rail networks around London. In this vein, the points selected to be the extremities of the system are all major railway stations on exisiting networks. These are Maidstone East (Southeastern corner), Woking (Southwestern corner), Oxford (Northwestern corner, selected for historical reasons and Chelmsford (Northeastern corner). Oxford is on a spur which connects to the true orbital part of the network at Rickmansworth, having passed through Brill, Aylesbury, Amersham and Chalfont & Latimer en route (see my Metropolitan line post for more detail). Southwards from Rickmansworth it travels to Northwood, Ruislip Common, West Ruislip, Ickenham, South Ruislip, Hillingdon, Uxbridge, Uxbridge Moor, Cowley, Little Britain, Yiewsley, West Drayton, Harmondsworth, Heathrow Terminals 1,2 and 3, Heathrow Terminal 4, Stanwell, Ashford (Surrey), Staines, Laleham, Chertsey, Addlestone, West Byfleet (from where there is a spur to Woking). East from West Byfleet, the line would run Weybridge, Hersham, Esher, Hinchley Wood, Hook, Chessington South, Ewell West, Cheam, Sutton, West Croydon, East Croydon, Addiscombe, Shirley, Spring Park, West Wickham, Hayes, Keston, Locksbottom, Farnborough (Kent), Green Street Green, Chelsfield, Well Hill, Lullingstone Park, Eynsford, Maplescombe, with a spur to West Kingsdown and Maidstone. North from Maplescombe the line would then proceed to Farningham, Horton Kirby, Farningham Road, Sutton-at-Hone, Darenth, Fleet Downs, New Town, Dartford, Joyce Green, Purfleet, Aveley, Wennington, Upminster, Emerson Park, Ardley Green, Harold Wood, Harold Hill, Noak Hill, St Vincents Hamlet, Great Baddow and Chelmsford. Finally, west from Chelmsford it would head to Ongar, Broxbourne, Hertford East, Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Watford Junction and completing the circle at Rickmansworth (see my previous posts, “Watford and Watford Junction” and “The Great Anomaly” for more details on this connection). Ideally every London Underground line (except the Circle for the obvious reason and the Waterloo & City) would have a connection to somewhere on this orbital route as well.

THE WOKING TO CHELMSFORD LINE

The Hackney-Chelsea line as shown in the adapted 1994 journey planner takes over the southern half of the District line’s Wimbledon branch. If it took over the entire branch, with an interchange to the District at Earls Court I could see the logic, but I see little point in taking over half a branch. Thus, my proposal for a more logical and better integrated Hackney-Chelsea line runs as follows: Woking, West Byfleet, Walton-on-Thames, Hersham, Fieldcommon, Hampton Court (there are actually at least three locations with this title, one in the midlands, one in King’s Lynn, and this one which is the parvenu of the three), Teddington, Ham, Petersham, East Sheen, Barnes Bridge, Castelnau, Parsons Green, from which it would follow the original as far as Hainault.

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From Hainault, this line would then run to Chigwell Row, Lambourne End, Stapleford Abbots, Navestock, Kelvedon Hatch, Doddinghurst, Loves Green, Great Baddow and Chelmsford.

POSSIBLE EXTENSIONS TO THE CENTRAL ITSELF

Although West Ruislip is itself on the orbital route, my plan in the interest of greater integration would see the Central line run alongside the orbital through Ruislip Common and Northwood to Rickmansworth (and possibly services on the orbital would skip the two intermediate stops). This would give the Central line direct interchanges to both the northern and western segments of the orbital at that end. The Ealing Broadway branch would be extended by taking over the Greenford branch from mainline railways, and then rather than terminating at Greenford, services via Ealing would run through to Rickmansworth (yes there is scope for confusion, but I still think it could be made to work). Finally, the eastern end of the line would lose the Hainault loop, but the Eppin-Ongar section would be reopened, and then a further extension of 11.4 miles would take the line to Chelmsford, thereby connecting to both the northern and eastern segments of the orbital. The map below shows the area through which such an extension would run:

Ongar - Chelmsford

As you can see, this would give the Central line connection to three of the four segments of the orbital. I also have an idea for completing the set, namely reviving the old project for a Richmond extension, diverging from the main line at Shepherds Bush and running as follows: Seven Stars Corner, Bedford Park, rising to the surface at Gunnersbury, running along current District tracks to Richmond, and then calling additionally at Twickenham, Hanworth, Sunbury, Upper Halliford, Shepperton, Lower Halliford, Oatlands Park, Weybridge, West Byfleet and Woking.

TRANSITION POINT

Having had a look at the history of the line, and also at a vision for future developments it is a time to change tack, and as with the posts about the Hammersmith and City, Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines we will now journey along the existing line.

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THE JOURNEY

We start our journey on the section of the line along which life expectancy falls by two months per minute of journey time (see the Dorling book):

WEST RUISLIP

The western point of the line, and the starting point for the longest continuous journey currently makeable on London Underground – 34.1 miles to Epping. The mainline railway from Marylebone calls at this station en route the High Wycombe, Banbury and Birmingham among other places, but although the railway snakes away into the distance the station has a fairly rural aspect. For more please see my previous post “West Ruislip and Ickenham

SOUTH RUISLIP

The point at which the railway into Marylebone diverges from the Central line.

GREENFORD

The northern terminus of a small branch line from Ealing, which as I have already indicated I see as being suitable for being subsumed into the Central line. As currently constituted the station, which is elevated, although not quite so dramatically as Alperton on the Piccadilly line has three platforms, two through platforms for the Central and a single terminal platform for the branch line. In my scheme this would become four platforms, all operated by the Central line. Greenford is also notable for the presence of the old Hoover building (now a Tesco superstore).

HANGER LANE

The last station on this branch before the joining point at North Acton, this area is chiefly notable for four words capable in conjunction of reducing any London based motorist to a quivering wreck: Hanger Lane Gyratory System (a very regular feature of traffic bulletins for those who listen to the radio):

HGS Map

Before we continue our journey eastwards, we have a small gap to fill (no branches ignored by this writer)…

EALING BROADWAY

The other western terminus of this line, a junction with the District and with mainline railways (although trains going that far do not call at Ealing Broadway this is the original Great Western Railway, along which trains travel to Penzance, West Wales (the divergence point between these two routes is at Bristol) and also up to Banbury via Oxford).

WEST ACTON

One of no fewer than seven stations in London to feature Acton as part of its name (the other two Actons on the Central, Acton Town on the District and Piccadilly, South Acton and Acton Central on London Overground and Acton Mainline on First Great Western), and the only other station besides Ealing Broadway on this branch.

NORTH ACTON

The point at which, in our direction of travel, the Ealing and West Ruislip branches merge.

WHITE CITY

Although the stadium is long since gone, and built over, this was the site of London’s first Olympics in 1908. These games may well have saved the Olympics, because although the first modern Olympics at Athens in 1896 had been a great success, and the intercalated games of 1906 back at Athens almost equally so, the 1900 and 1904 games were both in differing ways epic fails. Paris 1900 represents the only occasion on which the Olympics have been in the shadow of another event (the Exposition Universelle) – to such an extent that some of the medal winners were not even aware of the significance of their achievement. As for St Louis 1904, a combination of absurdly long duration (in excess of three months), and the cost of travel for non-Americans meant that it was more like an inter-college tournament than an international event. Just to make things even worse, after the games proper were finished, the organisers staged what they called “Anthropological Games” (I leave this to your imagination!).

These games, centred on a stadium designed by Charles Perry specifically for the occasion (he also got the same gig for Stockholm 1912 – he must have been good), were tremendously successful. There were a couple of unsavoury incidents, the ‘Dorando Marathon’, where Dorando Pietri of Italy entered the stadium first, but on the point of collapse, was assisted by officials, and the Americans submitted a protest on behalf of the second athlete into the stadium, their own John Joseph Hayes, which was upheld. The other incident also involved American athletes, two of whom deliberately crowded Wyndham Halswelle (GB) in the mens 400m, causing a British judge to declare the race void and order a rerun, which the Americans refused to take part in.

Among the other medallists was J W H T Douglas (better known as a cricketer – those who saw him bat reckoned those initials stood for Johnny Won’t Hit Today) who won gold in the middleweight boxing.

The station at White City was originally called Wood Lane…

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Having said a lot about White City, other than a brief pointer to my previous post “Notting Hill Gate” I am going to skip several stops before paying a call at…

MARBLE ARCH

This is first of a run of four stations served by the Central line that take you through London’s best known shopping area. Speakers Corner is a few minutes walk from this station.

BOND STREET

Once upon a time this station had a frontage designed by Charles Holden, but that has long since gone, as the space directly above the station is now a shopping centre called West 1 (name taken directly from the postcode). Bond Street, currently served by the Central and Jubilee lines, is one of the places that will be served  by East-West crossrail. Also, Bond Street is the local station for a well known classical music venue, Wigmore Hall…

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OXFORD CIRCUS

One of the busiest stations on the entire network, there are interchanges with the Central and Bakerloo lines here. Also, in conjunction with Bond Street, and the Bakerloo line route from here to Piccadilly Circus, which follows the curve of Regent Street, this comes closest of any stretch of London Underground to including a complete set of monopoly board properties.

TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD

The last of the four station sequence along London’s two best known shopping streets, this station has undergone huge redevelopment…

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I covered Holborn in “Project Piccadilly“, and Chancery Lane deserves only a brief mention for the fact that officially, “The City” starts here, which bring us to…

ST PAULS

The current St Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Christopher Wren (there is stone in there with a message carved on it reading “If you seek my monument look all around you”), is the third on the site in its long history. St Pauls is also the closest station to the Museum of London through one window of which you can view a still standing section of the old walls of the Roman trading post Londinium.

Londinium Tube Map!

BANK

The heart of “The City”. The Central was the third line to serve a Bank, following the Waterloo and City (opened 1898, the second oldest of the deep level tube lines), and the City & South London, extended here in anticipation of the opening of the Central in early 1900. There are escalators connecting the various lines at Bank (including the Docklands Light Railway) to Monument (District and Circle, opened 1884). This latter station takes its name from another Wren creation, which stands 202 feet tall and is precisely 202 feet from the spot where the Great Fire of London started in 1666.

Skating over Liverpool Street, we come next to…

BETHNAL GREEN

Bethnal Green features in some of Edward Marston’s Railway Mysteries, as an area so forbidding that even the exceedingly tough Sergeant Leeming does not relish visiting it. Also, Bethnal Green is home to the Museum of Childhood, which is definitely well worth a visit.

MILE END

Although there are some small sections of the Central that are in tunnel east of here, this is the last station in the continuous underground section that begins at Shepherd’s Bush. As mentioned in my Hammersmith and City line post the interchange here is a unique one.

STRATFORD

As currently constituted this is the easternmost station on the Central to have an interchange to other lines (The Jubilee, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, mainline local, national and international railways. This is where London 2012 took place, London following Athens (1896, the intercalated games of 1906 and 2004) in staging a third games (The USA including its disastrous first foray in 1904 has actually staged four summer Olympics – Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984 and Atlanta in 1996 being the others).

LEYTON

This is one of the not so exclusive club of places where Essex County Cricket Club have played home games (at one time they played regularly at eight different grounds, which one player likened to being permanently on tour). Charles Kortright, author of the single most devastating put down that W.G.Grace ever suffered: “Going already Doctor? But there’s still one stump standing” was born here. On one occasion his fiery fast bowling led spectators to debate whether in the event of his killing someone the correct charge would be manslaughter or murder.

LEYTONSTONE

This is the point at which the southern part of the Hainault loop diverges from the rest of the Central line, and before continuing our journey on the main route we are going to sample it.

WANSTEAD – FAIRLOP

Redbridge has the shallowest platforms of any fully enclosed London Undeground station, just 26 feet below the surface. Gants Hill and Newbury Park are notable for their external buildings – Gants Hill features a tower, while Newbury Park has a remarkable covered car park. Fairlop, reminding us that we are getting into open territory has a Country Park, Fairlop Waters.

HAINAULT

Hainault Forest has been publicised for many years. I customised this replica of a promotional poster originally advertising a bus route to suit the modern era…

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THE NORTH SECTION OF THE LOOP

Grange Hill was the setting a childrens TV Programme way back when (it was old when I was a child). Chigwell also has a TV pedigree – the hit comedy series Birds of a Feather was set there. Roding Valley is utterly undistinguished.

BACK TO THE MAIN LINE

South Woodford and Woodford are the last two stations covered in the Dorling book, and the story he tells comes full circle here, ending as it began, with someone who works in the Office for National Statistics.

The Dorling Journey
The Dorling Journey

Buckhurst Hill is of no great significance, and Loughton, with its splendid Great Eastern style station (this whole section from Stratford on was originally part of the Great Eastern railway) has already had the full post treatment from me. I will pass Debden and Theydon Bois swiftly, bringing us to our journey’s end at…

EPPING

We are now at the northernmost station currently served by London Underground (the line from here to Ongar, which when I last visited could still be seen runs virtually due north, while my envisaged  route to Chelmsford would then be going practically due east from Ongar). This end of the line, even having been cut back from Ongar, does feel very isolated, because one has to travel a fair distance before meeting an interchange, and with Epping-Ongar being run as a shuttle service rather than a through route, Ongar felt exceedingly isolated. This is why I envisage a through route to Chelmsford, the county town of Essex, with a connection to mainline railways, and my envisaged London Orbital Railway, which given the way that network has developed I now see as forming the outer boundary of an expanded London Overground.

MAPS AND ENDNOTES

First of all, my last couple of pictures, one from London Underground: A Diagrammatic History and one showing the modern day connections:

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This journey through the Central line’s history, with more than a glance towards the future, and then a journey along the line as constituted has been great fun to write – I hope you find it as fun to read, and for those who have reached the terminating point of this great ride I have one final message…

TY4

The Great Anomaly

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest addition to my series “London Station by Station“. My post on the Hammersmith and City line enjoyed some success, and my second essay in covering a whole line in one post, Project Piccadilly, was even more successful, featuring in two online publications. So now I am producing a third post of that type, this time on the Metropolitan line.

ANOMALIES

Metropolitan by name, very unmetropolitan by nature. Also, it is classed as London Underground, but most of its length is in the open air. The only stretch of this line is currently constituted that follows the original Metropolitan Railway is from just west of Farringdon to just east of Baker Street (The original eastern terminus was at Farringdon Street, just south of the present station, and the Metropolitan platforms at Baker Street (nos 1-4) are not those used by the original line). Almost the entire length of the current line (and there was once a lot more of it as you will see in due course) developed from…

A SINGLE TRACK BRANCH FROM BAKER STREET TO SWISS COTTAGE

In 1868 a single track spur was opened from the Metropolitan Railway running north from Baker Street to St John’s Wood Road, Marlborough Road and terminating at Swiss Cottage. It was this little spur that caught the attention of Edward Watkin, who saw it as having a role to play in achieving his dream of a rail network linking Paris, London and Manchester, his three favourite cities (he would have managed this had he not been baulked over his version of the Channel Tunnel, which eventually opened a century later).

EXPANSION

That single track spur would be doubled, and from its next point north, Finchley Road, quadrupled and it would spread out into the hinterlands of Buckinghamshire, giving rise to a number of new branches. At its absolute height there were branches terminating at Uxbridge (sill present in its entirety), Stanmore (still served but not by the Met), Watford (still present as opened in 1925), Chesham (still as opened in 1889), Verney Junction (a place of no significance near modern day Milton Keynes) and Brill (at 51 miles from Baker Street the furthest point from London reached by any London Underground line). The latter two branches were closed in the middle 1930s, services terminating at Quainton Road just beyond Aylesbury for a time, until further paring back to Aylesbury (still served by mainline trains, with a new station at Aylesbury Vale Parkway just beyond Aylesbury itself) and finally Amersham, the current outlying point of the system, a mere 27 miles from Baker Street.

After the expansionism of Watkin, the third of the three great figures in the development of the Metropolitan took over, Robert Hope Selbie, creator of “Metroland”.

To help you orient yourself here are some maps…

Brill and Oxford.
Brill and Oxford.
The Metropolitan Railway and its connecttions.
The Metropolitan Railway and its connecttions.
“Metroland”
The area around Verney Junction.
The area around Verney Junction.

To finish this section, The Stanmore branch, along with the intermediate stations between Finchley Road and Wembley Park, and new tube-level intermediates between Baker Street and Finchley Road was taken over by the Bakerloo line in 1939, and then to ease congestion on the latter by the new Jubilee line (with brand spanking new stations at Bond Street, Green Park and Charing Cross as well).

SPECULATIVE SUGGESTIONS

Of the Metropolitan branches that are still served by that line, the Amersham and Watford branches would be subsumed into my plans for a London Orbital Railway (Rickmansworth would be the northwestern corner of the orbital network itself, with a spur running via Amersham and Aylesbury to form significant connections at Oxford and/ or Milton Keynes (see the section above, and also my post “Ongar”). The Chesham branch would then become one of just two Metropolitan branches, with a northward extension to Tring and another interchange with mainline railways. The Uxbridge branch would remain unchanged, though gaining a connection with the Orbital route. At the other end, Aldgate would be abandoned as a terminus, the track connection from Aldgate East to Shadwell be revived for the Metropolitan, and a connection via New Cross to South Eastern tracks and Metropolitan services running through to Sevenoaks would further increase the London Underground presence in Southeast London and West Kent (see Project Piccadilly for another envisaged connection to this part of the world). The reason for projecting this line over existing track rather than looking at a completely new route is that is one of the old lines, built to mainline specifications and its tunnels were built using the cut-and-cover method, which makes building new tunnel sections more problematic than for a deep-level tube line.

THE TRANSITION POINT

At this stage of proceedings, having seen the Metropolitan lines past, present and a possible vision for its future we are going to make a journey along the line as it is currently constituted, so fasten your seatbelts…

ALDGATE – BAKER STREET

This section has been covered in great detail in previous posts of mine:

BAKER STREET – FINCHLEY ROAD

This is the last underground segment of the Metropolitan line, and you can see the platforms and some of the signs of old stations which were closed when the Bakerloo line Stanmore branch opened in 1939. Just before emerging into the open air, the Metropolitan tracks diverge to make way for the emerging Jubilee (former Bakerloo) tracks. From the platform at Finchley Road one can see the 1939 tunnel end. As at other places where ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ trains enter tunnels close together there are protective mechanisms to prevent a subsurface level train that gets on the wrong tracks from reaching (and colliding with) the beginning of a tube tunnel.

FINCHLEY ROAD – WEMBLEY PARK

There are no fewer than five Jubilee line stations between these two, all originally served by the Metropolitan and hence with platforms at the ‘compromise’ height also seen where the Piccadilly shares tracks with the District and Metropolitan lines. The Metropolitan has four tracks between Finchley Road and Moor Park and this feature is used to enable trains to Amersham to skip stops – they go fast from Finchley Road to Harrow-on-the-Hill and then fast from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Moor Park. On the route used by Watford and Uxbridge trains (there are currently few through services to Chesham) the next stop is Wembley Park. Whichever route you are on this section features the highest speeds anywhere on London Underground, in the vicinity of 70mph.

Wembley Park is the local station for Wembley Stadium. Between those who think that England has no need for a single national football stadium and those who think that the national football stadium should be in the midlands Wembley has a lot of detractors. I have sympathy with both the camps mentioned in the previous paragraph – I would not have gone for a national football stadium but even accepting the need for such, the midlands would have been the place to build it. I did get to the original Wembley once, to attend a mass given by the then pope, John Paul II.

WEMBLEY PARK TO HARROW-ON-THE-HILL

There are two intermediate stations between these two, Preston Road, which has been served since 1908 and Northwick Park, which opened only in 1923.By comparison, Harrow-on-the-Hill opened in 1880. Harrow-on-the-Hill is the first stop on the line from Marylebone to Aylesbury and it is also the point at which the Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan diverges from the rest.

THE UXBRIDGE BRANCH

For more detail on this branch please consult Project Piccadilly. Rayners Lane, where the two lines converge for the run to Uxbridge is one of only two direct interchanges between the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines, the other being at that vast node point, King’s Cross St Pancras.

HARROW-ON-THE-HILL TO MOOR PARK

Amersham trains, as mentioned above, run non-stop between these two stations. Watford trains call on the way at North Harrow, Pinner, Northwood Hills (where Bodilsen UK had one of their shops when I worked for them as a data input clerk) and Northwood. Of these four stations, only Pinner (1885) dates from when the track was laid down, the others being later additions. Moor Park itself only opened in 1910, originally as Sandy Lodge, which became Moor Park & Sandy Lodge in 1923 and Moor Park in 1950. Moor Park marks the end of the section on which there is a division between slow and fast services. In the days before it was considered necessary to include all London Underground stations in travel card zones, Moor Park was the outermost station on the Metropolitan which could be legally visited on a travel card (the only other section of London Underground to be outside the travel card zones was the eastern end of the Central line, where the boundary station was Loughton). The other point of significance about Moor Park is that it is the divergence point for the…

WATFORD BRANCH

Just two stations, Croxley and Watford, both opened in 1925. Croxley is less than 200 yards from Croxley Green, terminus of a minor side branch of the mainline railway from Watford Junction. This has given rise to various proposals involving linking the Metropolitan to Watford Junction. My own speculative scheme is for this branch, and the Croxley Green branch to form part of the northern leg of the London Orbital Railway, along with the Amersham branch, making use of the Rickmansworth-Watford curve, and another underused branch line between Watford and St Albans. For more on this part of the world I recommend F W Goudie and Douglas Stuckey’s book “West of Watford: Watford Metropolitan & the L.M.S Croxley Green and Rickmansworth branches. Also, do check out my post on Watford and Watford Junction.

A fine account of public transport in the Watford area.
A fine account of public transport in the Watford area.

RICKMANSWORTH

Rickmansworth opened in 1887, and in 1925 link from Rickmansworth to Croxley on the Watford branch was opened, and subsequently closed in 1960. Rickmansworth is also the outermost station on the Metropolitan to have been shown on Henry C Beck’s first attempt at a schematic diagram of London Underground (one of the great design coups of the 20th century).

Henry C Beck's first schematic diagram of London Underground.
Henry C Beck’s first schematic diagram of London Underground.

RICKMANSWORTH – CHALFONT & LATIMER

This section opened in 1889, with one intermediate station at Chorleywood. These days Chalfont & Latimer has two services running from it: through services from Aldgate to Amersham and a shuttle service to and from Chesham. Ironically given that it now has the minor role, Chesham opened first in 1889. In 1989 to celebrate the centenary a steam service ran through to Chesham, starting from Baker Street.

THE CHESHAM SHUTTLE

It took 50 years from the idea first being mooted for Chesham to acquire a train service. Edward Watkin, under whose aegis the line was opened envisaged a further northern extension making use of a natural gap in the Chilterns to connect with London and North Western (as it was in those days) at Tring. Further information about the Chesham branch and its history can  be found in Clive Foxell’s book “The Chesham Shuttle”. The journey from Chalfont & Latimer to Chesham is the longest single stop journey on the system at 3.89 miles (a mere 24.3 times the length of the shortest, from Leicester Square to Covent Garden).

Foxell

AMERSHAM

This is the end of our journey along the current Metropolitan line. It is the highest point above sea level anywhere on the system, 500 feet up in the Chilterns. Beyond here, the current main line continues to Great Missenden, Wendover, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

AFTERWORD

I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far. I will finish this post by making one final reference to my future vision of public transport in and around London, and the role of the Metropolitan in it. Given the closeness of its integration with the London Orbital Railway Network, and the fact that my envisaged south eastern extension utilizes London Overground, and that it would make sense for the London Orbital Railway to form the outer limits of the London Overground network, I could see the Metropolitan line being subsumed completely into a greatly expanded London Overground network, meaning either that the Metropolitan line would disappear from London Underground maps or that the Hammersmith and City line, which contains the entire surviving portion of the original Metropolitan Railway should be renamed the Metropolitan in deference to its history. Here a couple of map pics to finish, one a heavily edited shot from the Diagrammatic History an one showing the current Metropolitan line’s connections.

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Project Piccadilly

INTRODUCTION

This post is associated with my “London Station by Station” series. I was gratified by the response that overview of the Hammersmith and City line received, and so now I am producing a piece about the Piccadilly line which will be much longer, as there is is much more to say…

AN OVERVIEW

The Piccadilly line came into existence as a compromise project taking elements from three distinct schemes. An excellent explanation for this is provided by Desmond F. Croome in his “The Piccadilly Line: An Illustrated History”

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Still, not event the combination of this bizarre origin and the schemozzle at Heathrow gains the Piccadilly line the status of  London Underground’s no 1 bodge job – for more about that you will have to wait until I feel strong enough to tackle the Northern line!

To give you an overview of the line both in its history and as it stands today here a some images…

The Piccadilly line on London Underground: A Diagrammatic History.
The Piccadilly line on London Underground: A Diagrammatic History.
The Piccadilly line and its connections today (photographed from the current edition of the London Connections map)
The Piccadilly line and its connections today (photographed from the current edition of the London Connections map)
A facsimile of a promotional poster for the Piccadilly line.
A facsimile of a promotional poster for the Piccadilly line.

Having set the scene, it is time to strap yourselves in for…

THE JOURNEY

I am starting slightly out of position, for reasons that will reveal themselves at the end of the post, with Southgate, which I have given a previous post in the series. For full details you will need to read that post, but Southgate has two features of significance to me: it was the home of the Walker brothers, and in that context Middlesex still play some games of cricket at the Walker ground; and it is home to quirk illustrated by this picture…

Light at the end of Tunnel

That attended to, we can now get back on the journey proper starting at…

COCKFOSTERS

This station opened in 1933, and still today it is in a very rural setting. Other than being the starting point for our journey it has no real distinguishing  features.

ARNOS GROVE

In the direction in which we travel, this marks a transition point – this is the last station at surface level until we emerge at Barons Court.

WOOD GREEN

This is one of two stations, the other being a main line railway station, Alexandra Palace, which serve Alexandra Palace. Whichever you choose you have a long climb ahead of you to reach your objective, although it is worth it for the views at the end. This picture, courtesy of google, shows some of the frontage of the palace itself…

AP

FINSBURY PARK

This is the Piccadilly line’s first interchange with any other in our direction of travel. As well as a connection to mainline railways, there is a cross-platform interchange to the Victoria line. It was also the original terminus at this end of the line when the Piccadilly line opened in 1907. Because it was after I had made this particular change in reverse that I got the picture in question, here is a Piccadilly route map as seen in train carriage…

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ARSENAL

The only station on London Underground to be named after a football club. The club which started life as Dial Square, changed its name to Woolwich Arsenal, of which it was originally the works team and then moved away from Woolwich, dropping the prefix of its name has since moved yet again, to another new stadium. Herbert Chapman who had earlier won three successive championships with Huddersfield Town and even earlier been lucky to survive a match fixing scandal that saw his then club Leeds City thrown out of the league was the person who successfully suggested the name change from the original Gillespie Road, with greater success than Mr Selfridge had enjoyed with his suggestion to the then independent Central London Railway that they might care to rename Bond Street station in honour of his establishment.

KINGS CROSS

I have covered this both in an individual post and in the earlier piece about the Hammersmith and City line. To these I add only that the Piccadilly line is the second deepest line at the station, the Northern line being deeper.

RUSSELL SQUARE

Russell Square is one of the few deep level stations to have no escalators – you have a choice between lifts or stairs. It is also the closest station to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where I was a patient for over a year of my life, in my case in the Mildred Creak unit. For more details about how to locate this hospital, check out their own guide.

GOSHPIC

Russell Square also serves the iconic British Museum, and they also provide full detail on possible ways of getting there.

BMUS

One final Russell Square connection – it is the home station for the Institute of Education, which is a regular venue for the annual five-day political festival Marxism and also happens to the place that I visited the first time I ever took part in an Autism Research project – this one being carried out by a woman named Sian Fitzpatrick.

Clark Hall at the Institute of Education, set up for a meeting, appropriately enough on education.
Clark Hall at the Institute of Education, set up for a meeting, appropriately enough on education.
The picture that adorns the wall of Clarke Hall.
The picture that adorns the wall of Clarke Hall.
The artists signature.
The artists signature.

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HOLBORN

This station is the only official interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. When I first used it as a child there were wooden escalators – mind this was in an era when deep-level tube trains using carriages with maple slatted floors and wooden side panels had smoking compartments – health and safety was not considered so important then. Today, Holborn is an ordinary mid-route station, but that was not always the case, and I believe it should not be the case. This is the preamble to…

A MAJOR DIGRESSION

From 1907 until 1994 there was a branch running south from Holborn to Aldwych. It was not doing much by the end of its life, but closure was not the only option – it was ideally placed for an extension into Southeast London and West Kent. I have already linked to the post I put up about Aldwych early on in this series, but in that post I did not give details of my envisaged extension, an omission I rectify as part of this project.

Reestablishing the Aldwych connection, the route would then go:

Blackfriars (District, Circle, mainline railways), London Bridge (Northern – Bank branch, Jubilee, mainline railways), Bermondsey (Jubilee), Surrey Quays (London Overground), Mudchute (DLR), Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich Park, Blackheath (mainline railways), Eltham High Street, New Eltham, Longlands, Sidcup High Street, Foots Cray, Ruxley, Hockenden, Crockenhill, Hulberry, Eynsford (mainline railways), Maplescombe, West Mingsdown, Fairseat, Vigo Village, Ditton, Maidstone West (mainline railways), Maidstone East (mainline railways).

The Maidstone connection is important because very isolated ends of lines can end up not getting much use (see Ongar in this series), and by extending it the extra distance to have both the interchanges in and population of Maidstone to bolster its usage one increases the likelihood of it working. The other particularly significant stop in the outer reaches of the extension is Eynsford, not major enough to be a suitable terminus, but definitely has much worth visiting, led by the scenic Darent Valley and the historic Roman Villa down the road at Lullingstone.

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BACK TO THE JOURNEY

The digression done, it is time to resume our progress along the Piccadilly, which next takes us to…

COVENT GARDEN

I have already covered this area at some length in a previous post to which I now direct you. What I failed to mention in that post is that there is also a quite pleasant walking route from here to Waterloo, and all the attractions I have listed in that post.

LEICESTER SQUARE

This station has a connection to the Northern line (Charing Cross branch). Also, until the refurbishment of Angel (Northern, Bank branch) it had the longest escalators to be found anywhere on the system. At 0.16 miles apart it and Covent Garden are the two closest neighbours on the entire system. Leicester Square serves an area of London known as Chinatown.

PICCADILLY

The station that gives its name to the line, it has an interchange with the Bakerloo line. Piccadilly is home to the Eros statue. It features in at least two series of novels set in Restoration England, Edward Marston’s Redmayne series and Susannah Gregory’s Chaloner series.

GREEN PARK

Interchanges with the Victoria and Jubilee lines.

HYDE PARK CORNER

One of several stations serving London’s largest park. This is also the local station for the Albert Hall.

SOUTH KENSINGTON

Museum central – see the first post in this series for more detail. Also, the point at which one the projects that were fused together to make the Piccadilly line – a plan for a ‘deep level District’ line to ease congestion on the original District – from here to Earls Court the Piccadilly follows the District exactly, then skips West Kensington, joining the District at the surface at Barons Court. After Hammersmith the Piccadilly runs fast to Acton Town while the district has intermediate stops at Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, Turnham Green and Chiswick Park. Occasional Piccadilly trains stop at Turnham Green where the Richmond branch of the District diverges, but the major branching point is…

ACTON TOWN

Nowadays the District only goes beyond Acton Town as far as Ealing Broadway, but the entire Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly and the Heathrow branch as far as Hounslow West were originally served by the District and feature platforms at the compromise height used for cross-platform interchanges between ‘tube’ and ‘subsurface’ lines. This station adjoins the Acton  Works, where rolling stock is maintained and overhauled. We will explore the Heathrow branch first…

ALWAYS AVOID ALL ALLITERATION

The joke instruction used as this section heading refers to the fact that the three Hounslow’s, Hatton Cross and the three Heathrow stations all being with the letter H – and if you are on a train running the loop route (Terminals 1,2 and 3 and then terminal 4, as opposed to the direct Terminal 5 route), you would in total, between departing Hounslow East one way and returning there in the other direction see station names beginning with H 11 times on the trot.

THE HEATHROW SCHEMOZZLE

When the Piccadilly was first extended to serve Heathrow one station, unimaginatively named Heathrow Central was deemed sufficient. Then, in 1986, Terminal 4 opened, and was not accessible from the existing station. A terminal loop was constructed with a new station built on it to serve Terminal 4. So far, so good, but then the folk who run Heathrow decided that a mere four terminals were insufficient for the number of flights they wanted to run, and a fifth terminal, not accessible from either existing station was built. So we now have a bizarre configuration whereby there is simultaneously a terminal loop and an ordinary direct terminus constructed specially to serve Terminal 5. Quite what sort of arrangement will result if and when a Terminal 6 gets the go-ahead is beyond me to imagine.

Early advertising of the Heathrow connection.
Early advertising of the Heathrow connection.

ALPERTON

I have covered the quirky feature of this station in a previous post.

SUDBURY TOWN

There are two stations on this branch bearing the name Sudbury, Sudbury Hill an Sudbury Town. I am concentrating on the latter because as a Grade 1 listed building it stands as an example of the best of London Underground architecture. Like so many of the finest examples, this station was designed by the legendary Charles Holden. To find out more about Holden and his work I recommend strongly that you consult David Lawrence’s magnificent Bright Underground Spaces, in which I located these pictures that relate to Sudbury Town…

The design of the station.
The design of the station.
A double page spread picture of the completed station.
A double page spread picture of the completed station.

SOUTH HARROW

The last station before this branch meets the Metropolitan for the run to Uxbridge. The Metropolitan converges from a station called West Harrow, while all the other branches of that line bar the Uxbridge one pass through North Harrow. Once upon a time a school opened to serve “30 poor children of the parish of Harrow”. The school is still there, but it is a long time since any poor children got to go there.

RAYNERS LANE

This is the meeting point, and for a long time this was a regular terminating point for Piccadilly line services except at peak periods. This is the last marked interchange on the Piccadilly line, although you could change to the Metropolitan anywhere between here and Uxbridge should you desire it.

RUISLIP MANOR AND RUISLIP

Ruislip is an occasional terminating point, although most trains that go that far go on to Uxbridge. These two stations both serve Ruislip Lido, home to among other things the smallest gauge passenger carrying railway in Britain. I have assembled some links for you:

  1. The lido as a whole
  2. The Ruislip Lido Railway
  3. The official view on how to get there.

ICKENHAM

I mentioned earlier in this post that Holborn is the only officially recognised interchange between the Piccadilly and Central lines. For all that is in the region of a 10 minute walk to get from this station to West Ruislip I consider that this should be a recognised interchange – for more detail consult this post.

HILLINGDON

The current Hillingdon station opened in 1992, but there was an earlier Hillingdon station which opened in 1923. In 1934 this station was renamed Hillingdon (Swakeleys). The suffix was gradually dropped over time, but leaves the question “what is Swakeleys?” to have such significance. The answer, as an internet search reveals is that it is a school. As far as can ascertain it is the only school to have officially formed part of a station name (the stations with Harrow in their name refer to the location not the the school per se). There is also a well known hospital in Hillingdon.

UXBRIDGE

We have reached the end of our journey. The present Uxbridge station opened in 1934, but there has been a station at Uxbridge since 1903. In so far as anywhere so rural can be this is something of a transport hub as several bus services make use of the station forecourt. Now it is time to reveal the solution to the teaser I set as to why I started out of position at Southgate: the connection is a cricketing one – yes we are back in Middlesex out ground territory. Sadly, other than knowing that Middlesex sometimes play there I cannot recall anything about cricket at Uxbridge – no remarkable matches spring to mind, nor great players especially associated with the ground.

SOME FINAL WORDS

This post does not make any claim to be a definitive account of the Piccadilly line – it is a strictly personal view of the highlights of the line that has more stations than any other deep level ‘tube’ lines and is only beaten by the District among the ‘subsurface’ lines, and I have ignored many stations altogether and given quite a few others only sparse coverage. I hope that you have all enjoyed the ride!