Special Post: West Ruislip and Ickenham

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my ongoing series “London Station by Station”. On this occasion we feature…

AN UNACKNOWLEDGED INTERCHANGE

The Metropolitan line’s Uxbridge branch, on which Ickenham is located, opened in 1904. The District line started running services along there in 1910, and these were subsequently switched to the Piccadilly line in the 1930s. Central line services were extended to their current western terminus at West Ruislip in 1948.

The two stations are quite close together (about 10 mins walk apart at surface level) and the largest depot anywhere on the London Underground network also provides track connections between them, as it used by the Piccadilly, Metropolitan (Uxbridge) and Central (West Ruislip) lines. Also, unlike some other interchanges that go unacknowledged (e.g Belsize Park and Gospel Oak) it is not especially difficult to think of journeys where this interchange might be useful (Uxbridge to Hanger Lane is one example).

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Note the suffix the that the station name of West Ruislip once had.

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Special Post: Hampstead and Golders Green

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be enocuraged to share it.

A RAPID ASCENT

The two stations in my title are neighbours on the Edgware branch of the Northern line. Hampstead is the deepest station on the entire network, 192 feet below the surface, and it is just north of this station towards Golders Green that the deepest point anywhere on the system is reached, 221 feet below the surface of Hampstead Heath. Yet Golders Green, the very next station, is at surface level, open to the air.

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Part of the explanation for the juxtaposition that introduced the body of this piece is that the gap between the two stations is quite a long one – an intermediate station was excavated at platform level but never opened…

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Golders Green was the original northern terminus of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (now part of the Northern line) when it opened in 1907 and is still the site of the Northern line’s main depot.

Here is a final picture to end this brief post…

The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History

Special Post: Victoria

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to share it.

THE ULTIMATE IN TRANSPORT NODES

A SOUPCON OF HISTORY

Victoria Underground station first opened as part of the Metropolitan District Railway in 1868. The construction of this of the system was combined with the building of the Victoria Embankment, and was designed and overseen by Joseph William Bazelgette who was also responsible for the design of London’s sewer system. Peter Bazalgette, the TV producer who has a bridge programme from the 1980s to his credit and Big Brother to his debit is a great-great nephew of Joseph William.

The infighting between the Metropolitan District (now the District line) and it’s supposed senior partner the Metropolitan meant that the Inner Circle (now the Circle line), the other line to serve these platforms was not completed until 1884.

In spite of giving its name to the line in question, Victoria was not one of the original Victoria line stations, opening as part of the second of three tranches in 1969, before the final section from Victoria to Brixton opened in 1971.

A PHILATELIC DIGRESSION

One of the quirks of the Victoria line is that every station features a pattern o a picture of some sort used as a motif. The pattern used at Victoria, is based on one of the most famous items to feature a picture of Queen Victoria, the 2d blue postage stamp. I do not have a picture of the London Underground pattern based on it to hand, but this was lot 682 in James and Sons’ May auction…

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THE TRANSPORT HUB

Victoria is the most used station on the entire London Underground network. In excess of 60 million passenger journeys per year start or finish at this station. Victoria is a major train station, serving a wide variety of destinations to the South and East of London, including running the Gatwick Express, which connects to London’s second busiest airport. There is at the moment a bitter rivalry between Gatwick and Heathrow over who will get a new runway. My own view? Neither – do not build the thing at all – instead encourage people away from aeroplanes.

In addition to the train services there is Victoria Coach Station, from which you can reach most parts of the country, although some of the journey times are very long.

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC FINALE

As usual for these posts I have some map pictures…

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The Diagrammatic History
The Diagrammatic History

Special Post: Balham

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to hare it.

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.
The pictures of the surface buildings.

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I do not usually share extraneous links in this series of posts, but connected with the photographs above is a petition that I signed and shared earlier, and which now has over 200,000 signatures – lets keep building it!

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.
The full map, spread out.

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Special Post: Triangle Sidings

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station“. This one is a little bit of a departure from the standard because it takes in three separate stations. I hope that you will enjoy it and will be inspired to share it.

TRIANGLE SIDINGS

The triangle of the title has Gloucester Road, Earls Court and High Street Kensington at its corners. The first two stations are also served at tube level by the Piccadilly line. High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road both opened in 1868 under the aegis of The Metropolitan Railway. The first station was opened at Earls Court in 1871, and replaced with the present one in 1878. Both the Piccadilly stations were part of the original section of that line that opened in 1906.

The curve of track from Gloucester Road to High Street Kensington, now used exclusively by Circle line trains, plays a role in a Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, because at that time there were flats overlooking the line in that area, and Holmes was able to work out that the German agent Hugo Oberstein lived in one of them, and from that how the unfortunate Arthur Cadogan West had made his involuntary entrance to the underground system.

These days the land above triangle sidings is occupied by a Sainsbury;s supermarket.

The complexity of this section is largely down to Earls Court being the chief hub of the District line. Trains leave Earls Court going East to Upminster, North to Edgware Road, Northwest to Kensington Olympia, South to Wimbledon, West to Turnham Green, whence some services go south to Richmond and others continue West to Ealing Broadway. Platforms 1 and 2 carry trains to Upminster and Edgware Road, while all the other services, which for London Underground purposes are going in the opposite direction leave from platforms 3-4.

To finish this post I have some maps pics and a couple of photos from London Underground: The Official Handbook…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

Special Post: Aldgate and Aldgate East

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station”. I hope you will enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.

A FOUR WAY TRIANGLE

I am treating two stations together because they are so close to one another that one can stand o the platforms of one and watch trains pulling into the other. The title refers to the number of current lines using this segment of the system and the shape it very roughly resembles. Aldgate opened in 1876 and has been open ever since. The first Aldgate East station opened in 1884 and was closed in 1938, with the current station opening the very next day.

The confluences and divergences are as follows: at Liverpool Street the triple route of Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines diverge, with the H&C going to Aldgate East and the other two to Aldgate, where the Met terminates. At Tower Hill the District and Circle part ways the Circle continuing round to Aldgate and the District going to Aldgate East where it joins the H&C.

To assist with orientation and to finish this brief post here are my usual map pics…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

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Special Post: Southfields

INTRODUCTION

This is the latest post in a series I have been running on this blog called “London Station by Station“. This particular post as you will see has extra special relevance, and could only go up this morning. I hope you will enjoy it and be encouraged to share it.

THE HOME OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST TENNIS TOURNAMENT

Yes folks, Wimbledon is upon us once more. As usual, full coverage will be being provided by the BBC. Southfields, the third to last stop going south on the Wimbledon branch of the District line, opened in 1889 (so after William Renshaw’s seven titles) is the local station for these championships, as this reproduction of an old poster shows…

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As someone who grew up in South West London this tournament has particular meaning for me. I only got to see it at the venue once, but have always followed the tournament as closely as circumstances allow.

When I first started following the tournament in the mid 1980s a Brit in the second round was cause for banner headlines. These days things are rather different, although in the Men’s game there remains a veritable “Ginnunga Gap” between Murray and the next best Brit. Things are definitely looking up for British Women though, with Johanna Konta reaching the quarter-finals at Eastbourne last week and only going out to the eventual champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, and Heather Watson also playing well.

During the Eastbourne coverage, various displays showing people’s possible progress if all went to plan were shown, but I paid little attention because if I learned anything from 30 years of following tennis it is that one thing that does not happen is things going according to plan. If I was a betting person I would put money on at least one of the seeds being a goner by the end of day 1.

This stretch of line includes one of only two places where London Underground trains cross the Thames by way of  a bridge (the other is on the Richmond branch of the District line).

As usual with these posts I finish with a couple of map pics…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.

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