INTRODUCTION

This post came about because I was given a horse brass that relates to this establishment. I will explain in the course of the post my justification for including it on a site devoted to London Underground. 

THE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE RAILWAY CENTRE

It was only natural that I should check further for details of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. I discovered that it is based in Aylesbury and that it looks like an excellent museum. Click on the picture below to visit their website:

JUSTIFYING THIS INCLUSION

So what is this attraction doing on this site? There are two linked justifications for its inclusion. In my post about the Metropolitan line I have referred to the fact that that line once extended a lot further than it now does. Even after the sections beyond Aylesbury were closed, Metropolitan line trains continued to serve Aylesbury until the 1960s. In my post about the Central line I went in to detail about my vision of a London Orbital Railway. 

 

The Metropolitan line in its glory days.

 

In my vision the Metropolitan line would be pared back to the Uxbridge branch and the Chesham branch, the latter extended to Tring, with the Watford branch being wholly incorporated into the Orbital Railway, and the Amersham branch forming the start of a northwestern spur from the Orbital Railway which would extend to the old terminus at Brill, and thence to Oxford to link up with mainline railways there. There would possibly also be scope for reviving the old Verney Junction branch and extending to Milton Keynes, although with the Watford link this is very much an additional option rather than a central part of the vision.

As part of the Oxford spur there could be a station specifically for the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, with tickets to that station including admission to the railway centre – after all how better to arrive at a railway centre than by train arriving at a station that is structurally part of the centre? 

Here is a second picture of that horse brass:

INTRODUCTION

The inspiration for this post came from a post on estersblog, which I link to by way of one of her splendid pictures at the end of this introduction. I will briefly mention by name all the stations that are within walking distance of Greenwich proper (North Greenwich, in spite of the second part of it’s name does not count), then I will provide links to some of the main sites that Greenwich has to offer, and I will conclude by describing a hypothetical day trip from King’s Lynn, where I now live to Greenwich.

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THE STATIONS

When the Docklands Light Railway first opened its southern terminus was Island Gardens, thought it has subsequently been extended south, via a new station at Cutty Sark to Lewisham. In addition to Island Gardens and Cutty Sark there are two mainline railway stations which are within walking distance of these attractions, Greenwich and Maze Hill. Having paid lip service to all four stations, and acknowledging the value of Cutty Sark station for those whose mobility is restricted, I serve notice that only two of these stations will receive further mention.

THE ATTRACTIONS

The whole area deserves to be explored properly, but here are four places particularly worthy of mention:

  1. The Cutty Sark – how many ships get to have a station named in their honour? This tea clipper well repays a visit and is a good starting point. For more about this attraction click on the image below to visit the official website.
    Cutty Sark
  2. The Gipsy Moth pub. Right by the Cutty Sark is a high quality pub where you can take refreshment before heading off to the other attractions. Click the picture below to find out more at their website:
    Pub in Greenwich
  3. The National Maritime Museum – set in a lovely area of parkland that also includes my final attraction, this museum has added many new exhibits since my last visit. Click on the image below to visit their website:
    A detail from 'Emma Hart as Circe' by George Romney ©Tate, London 2016
  4. Last but by no means least of the Greenwich fab four is the Royal Observatory which also now houses the London Planetarium (and if the latter is as good as it was in its Baker Street days you are in for a real treat). Click on the image below, which I took as part of my paid employment while imaging an old album that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons’ April auction, to visit the website:

A HYPOTHETICAL DAY TRIP FROM
KING’S LYNN TO GREENWICH

While there is little to be done about the King’s Lynn to London and back element of the journey except hope that there are not too many disruptions, there are lots of public transport options for getting to and from Greenwich, and this section of the post gives a route with a couple of variations that involves no going back the way we came. 

Alighting at King’s Cross, I would head down to the Northern line platforms and get a southbound train to Bank, where I would change to the Docklands Light Railway and travel to Island Gardens (not Cutty Sark), from where I would start the pedestrian section of my journey. Alighting at Island Gardens, no longer satisfactory as in the days of the original elevated terminus, I would pass under the Thames, by way of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to arrive at my first attraction, the Cutty Sark.

Once I had finished looking round the Cutty Sark I would head to the nearby Gipsy Moth pub for a pint of something decent before heading to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory in that order. If possible I would sample the Planetarium while there.

For the journey back to King’s Cross I would head to Greenwich railway station, take a train to London Bridge, where I would head for the Jubilee line and catch a train heading in the direction of Stanmore. There are three possibilities for completing the circuit to King’s Cross from here:

  1. The quickest option, but also the one I would be least likely to take, would be to change at Green Park to the Victoria line (the interchange is long and often unpleasantly crowded, as is the equally possible interchange to the Piccadilly line at this same station) and travel north to King’s Cross.
  2. The middle option, and the one that I would be likeliest to take, is to travel along the Jubilee line as far as Baker Street and then ascend the escalator to the Metropolitan/ Circle/ Hammersmith and City line platforms, travelling east from there to King’s Cross.
  3. If time allowed and I was feeling so inclined I might stay on the Jubilee line until Finchley Road and make the cross-platform interchange to the Metropolitan line there.

SOME MAPS

Here to end the post are some maps:

We start with a picture showing the Docklands Light Railway and it’s connections, as this line bulks large in the story of this post.

This picture shows the whole area featured in my hypothetical day trip.

A close up of the area of interest from a public transport point of view.

A close up photo of part an old A-Z map page.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

I spotted this book in King’s Lynn library and of course had to take it out. Here is the front cover:

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OVERALL IMPRESSION

The book is crammed with interesting information,  and covers every line in detail as well as going over the history and some of pre-history of London Underground. I am very glad that I did borrow it, and have enjoyed dipping into it on a regular basis while it is in my possession. However, I have some…

QUIBBLES

I am going to start with the coverage of the East London line (which was still part of London Underground when the book was published although it is not now). In covering this line Mr Halliday states tat the Brunel tunnel under the Thames is the oldest object on the system having opened as a pedestrian tunnel in 1843. I have no quibble with his dating of the tunnel, but the stations that now form the northern end of the High Barnet branch of the Northern line opened as main-line railway in 1842, one year earlier than the pedestrian tunnel.

When covering the Central line Mr Halliday fails to mention that original eastern extension of that line beyond Liverpool Street did not end as it does today at Epping, but continued to Ongar (this is another former main line railway incorporated into London Underground, and opened in that guise in 1856). This leads me to another minor area of disappointment:

OVER-ORTHODOXY

In talking about the early history of the Metropolitan Mr Halliday mentions the Brill branch and the envisaged extension of this branch to Oxford but does not seem to consider that by opening up connections at both ends this could actually have boosted the use of the line. Similarly, when mentioning the former Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly line he does not consider the possible use of this under-used branch as a starting point for an extension into southeast London and west Kent. As mentioned above I regard the failure to even mention the stations beyind Epping on the Central line as inexcusable, and this too could be a discussion point – in my own post on the Central line I have advocated an extension to Chelmsford and another connection to mainline railways. Nevertheless, for all these issues I conclude this post (apart from some more pictures) by restating that this is a very useful and interesting little book.

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INTRODUCTION

This Saturday I was in London for the day (see here for more details), and I have posted several times on this site in connection with this (here, here and here), and I am concluding my activity on this front by showing all the London Transport related photos from that day in one post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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INTRODUCTION

The roundel, used in various colour schemes to denote aspects of London Transport is oine of the most famous symbols on the planet, and this post features one highly unusual example.

HORTICULTURAL DISPLAY IN CENTRAL LONDON

This little piece of topiary sits just outside Euston station, on one of the busiest streets in Britain’s busiest city…

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INTRODUCTION

This post is about a minor station which is local to very different places of interest for me.

THE HISTORY

Like the rest of the Northern line beyond Highgate on the High Barnet branch, Totteridge & Whetstone is a comparative late comer, having been first served in 1940. However, its origins, on a branch of the London and North Eastern Railway make it one of the older stations to feature on the network, as it opened for business in that guise as long ago as 1872. Incidentally, the expansion at the northern end of the Northern line at this time was nearly even more dramatic, as the third of the three map pictures with which i conclude this section shows…

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WALSINGHAM SUPPORT 

Walsingham Support is an organisation that supports people with disabilities. I came across them because someone from there put an excellent contribution to #autismawareness on twitter, which, combined with their address was responsible for the genesis of this post. Here is a map showing their relevance to a post focussing on Totteridge & Whetstone:

Directions from Totteridge & Whetstone to Walsingham Support courtesy of google maps.

Directions from Totteridge & Whetstone to Walsingham Support courtesy of google maps.

For the full map and written instructions about the route click here.

DOLLIS VALLEY GREENWALK

It is no secret that I am an ardent advocate of walking, so when I spotted the proximity of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk to the station I was covering it was natural to do some digging, and I first located the Barnet Council web page on the subject, which led me to a guide which is downloadable as a PDF – I urge you to do this and read it in full.

Totteridge & Whetstone

 

INTRODUCTION

I was inspired to create this post by reading a wonderful piece about a walk in Roman St Albans by Debbie Smyth on travelwithintent, of which much more later. Walking will bulk quite large throughout this post.

TWO VERY DIFFERENT STATIONS

St Albans station is a reasonably major station just beyond the official boundary of Greater London. Services to this station are fast and fairly frequent – a non-stop service from St Pancras takes approximately 20 minutes to reach St Albans.

St Albans Abbey station is at the end of a small branch line with not very frequent services (I have travelled it more than once). The other end of the line is at Watford Junction, and there is at present no through connection. Here are some maps for your assistance…

The connections.

The connections.

A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.

A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.

The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)

The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)

SPECULATIVE SECTION

I have made mention of St Albans and its potentialities for greater public transport integration in a number of previous posts:

  • In “The Great Anomaly“, my post on the Metropolitan line, I mentioned it in explaining my idea for the using the Amersham and Watford branches (which would cease to be part of the Metropolitan) as part of an envisaged London Orbital Railway.
  • In my post on the Bakerloo Line I wrote about re-extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction and then having it take over the St Albans Abbey shuttle service, with a through connection being established at Watford Junction.
  • In my post on the Central Line I explained in detail my envisaged London Orbital Railway and its connections.
  • In London Underground’s Worst Bodge Job, my post on the Northern line, I suggested splitting the line into two halves, with the Edgware/ Charing Cross half being extended north from Edgware as to Luton Airport Parkway, following the mainline from Elstree & Borehamwood on, and south from Kennington to Gatwick Airport.

Tying all these together my future for St Albans’ public transport connections involves:

  1. The Metropolitan’s current Watford scheme (extending to Watford Junction from Croxley, abandoning the current terminus) would be subsumed within the Orbital Railway, which would also make use of an adaptation of the plan outlined in Colne Valley Transit Proposal shown below:
    DSCN4159In my version of the scheme, which sees it become part of the London Orbital Railway, the Met keeps its Chesham terminus, and the new scheme runs service through Amersham.
  2. The Bakerloo takes over the St Albans Abbey branch, running services straight through to St Albans. As will be revealed later in this post I have an idea for a further possible extension in St Albans to increase integration.
  3. The Northern line Edgware and Charing Cross branches become the nucleus of a line running from Gatwick Airport to Luton Airport Parkway.

TWO GREAT WALKS

WALK 1: ROMAN ST ALBANS (DEBBIE SMYTH)

I start this section with the walk Debbie Smyth talks about in “A Roamin’ Walk through Roman St Albans“. To encourage you to read and comment on Debbie’s splendid post I offer you two pictures and the opening paragraph…

St Alban’s is first recorded as a Celtic British Iron Age settlement, known as Verlamion.  After the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, it grew into Verlamium, the third largest town in Roman Britain…

The route map

The route map

To view the original map picture click here.

A sample picture (there are many more in the original)

A sample picture (there are many more in the original)

The original of the above picture can be viewed here.

To view the full post (and I reiterate my encouragement of you to do so) click here.

WALK 2: ST ALBANS – WATFORD
(FROM COUNTRY WALKS AROUND LONDON)

This walk, which I did many years ago when I still lived in London is also well worth a look. I have the route map, a picture showing the whole walk, and individual shots of each double page it occupies…

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Walk

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THE VERULAMIUM MUSEUM

Mention has already been made of St Albans’ significance in Roman times, and this final section adds to that by pointing to the Verulamium Museum as an establishment comfortably walkable from both stations at which you can find out more about this history. Here are some maps showing the walking routes…

Walking there from the minor station.

Walking there from the minor station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

Walking there from the major station.

Walking there from the major station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

The plan that occurred to me based on these maps (and it would need to very sensitively devised if it were to go ahead) was for an extension from St Albans Abbey to a dedicated station for the Verulamium Museum and then a new terminus at St Albans for an interchange to the main station.

I hope that you have all enjoyed this look at St Albans, a fascinating and historic town on London’s doorstep.

INTRODUCTION

This is a post that owes its existence to serendipity – a piece of imaging at work yesterday and something I saw on twitter yesterday combining to give me the idea.

THE HISTORY

Manor House was opened as part of the first northerly extension of the Piccadilly line in 1932 (the extension from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters happened in three phases during 1932-3). It has had the same name for its whole history, although later in this post I will be suggesting a change. Here are two maps to show its history and modern connections:

The history.

The history.

 

Modern connections.

Modern connections.

AN EXCITING DEVELOPMENT AND A SUGGESTED NAME CHANGE

While on twitter I spotted a tweet about a development called Woodberry Wetlands and being impressed by what I saw decided to do some digging. I soon established that the site is practically next door to Manor House station, and it did not take much longer, having located an official website to decide that this was something entirely worthy of my support – cherishing nature while being deep within the capital city. For those who (like me) do twitter, they have a presence there too.

I have a number of pictures for you, some gleaned with the help of google maps, and some extracted from the official website (individual URLs accompany each of these pics)…

Woodberry Wetlands 4

One way for a public transport user to take in this attraction once it is opened without retracing their steps – travel to Manor House, and back from Stamford Hill.

Woodberry Wetlands 1 Woodberry Wetlands 2 Woodberry Wetlands 3

http://www.woodberrywetlands.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Z7W1269-1140x550.jpg

http://www.woodberrywetlands.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Z7W1269-1140×550.jpg

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http://www.woodberrywetlands.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Z7W6087-1140×550.jpg

Woodberry Wetlands opens on May 1st 2016, and I wish them all the best. I finish this section with…

A SUGGESTED NAME CHANGE

There is historical precedence for name changes on the Piccadiilly line – the name of Gillespie Road station was changed to Arsenal at the request of the club’s then general manager Herbert Chapman. I respectfully suggest that this project outweighs a mere football club in importance and that TFL would be well advised to at least consider changing the name of Manor House station to Woodberry Wetlands (effective from May 1st).

A LOST HOSPITAL

Lot 681 in James and Sons’ April auction is the following…

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This led me to look up Manor House Hospital, and I found this listing which I urge you to check for further details.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

This is a post about a place I visited many times in my youth, since I grew up not very far from it.

THE HISTORY

Crystal Palace was one of two stations opened to serve Crystal Palace (the other being Sydenham), when the building was moved from its original location in Hyde Park to Southeast London. The building itself was destroyed by a lightening strike in 1936, but the area still has much to commend it. In 2010 Crystal Palace station took a step up in importance when as part of the incorporation of what had been the East London Line into London Overground the New Cross Gate branch was extended south to West Croydon with a spur from Sydenham to Crystal Palace. More about the history of this station can be found here.

CRYSTAL PALACE PARK

The area where Crystal Palace once stood is now a public park, noted for its display of model dinosaurs (some of which are poorly posed as little was known of their lifestyles when they were constructed). There is a bust of Joseph Paxton, creator of Crystal Palace there as well. There are a variety of sources of further information available, including visitlondon, who have an excellent page featuring the image below, and the London Borough of Bromley’s official site, which has an excellent location map, also featured below.

The visitlondon pic.

The visitlondon pic.

The full location map, URL http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=534454&y=170658&z=0&sv=SE19%2B2BB

The full location map, URL http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=534454&y=170658&z=0&sv=SE19%2B2BB

 

Cropped to focus exclusively on the key area.

Cropped to focus exclusively on the key area.

A CRICKETING CONNECTION

In 1899 Dr W G Grace, having quarreled irretrievably with his native Gloucestershire, established the London County Cricket Club at Crystal Palace. Sadly, so entrenched were pre-existing prejudices that even with him running the show the new venture folded after a mere ten years, having had first class status only for the first five of those years.

WHERE I GREW UP IN LONDON

Earlier in the post I mentioned that I grew up not far from Crystal Palace. Here are a couple of pics obtained by way of google maps, based on my old home address that show just how close…

This shows the public transport option (and btw nine minutes for the walk down to the running track bus stop is a risible over estimate - five would be more accurate)

This shows the public transport option (and btw nine minutes for the walk down to the running track bus stop is a risible over estimate – five would be more accurate)

This one just shows the basic distance.

This one just shows the basic distance.

THE RAILWAY DETECTIVE

A fabulous series of books by Edward Marston, the first of the series which has the same title as the whole series features a dastardly plot to blow up Crystal Palace. More about this book and others in the series can be found here.

A MORE RECENT CONNECTION

To end this post, here is a picture of part of lot 602 in James and Sons‘ April Auction…

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INTRODUCTION

Although this station is on the original section of the Piccadilly line which opened in 1906 Covent Garden did not open until 1907. The reason for this omission is that it is actually a mere 0.16 miles (0.26 km) from Leicester Square, the shortest distance between any two stations on the same line anywhere on the system (this distinction is there for situations such as Euston Square and Warren Street which are round the corner from one another). However, in spite of the proximity of Leicester Square, Covent Garden does have enough to offer to justify having its own station, as the rest of this post will endeavour to show. Here are some map pictures showing the crowded nature of the area:

The Diagrammatic History

The Diagrammatic History

London Connections, 2015

London Connections, 2015

The A-Z, early 1990s.

The A-Z, early 1990s.

MUSIC, MARKETS AND MAPS

Dealing with these in the order above, Covent Garden is home to the English National Opera. Covent Garden Market is very famous, and more information is available at their website. Finally in this section, just down the road from Covent Garden station is Stanford’s, the map dealers. If you are going to find a map anywhere, Stanford’s will have it.

THEATRELAND

Covent Garden is in the heart of Theatreland. In addition to the information in the website to which I have just linked, there is a walk (no 3 to be precise) in “100 Walks In Greater London” which takes in theatreland, and a century ago a map was produced combining London Underground and Theatreland…

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THE LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM

I have, of course, saved Covent Garden’s most important attraction until last: it is here that you will find the London Transport Museum. This is an absolute treasure house for anyone interested in London Transport. You can explore old rolling stock, look at maps and much else besides. As this shows, the enthusiasm is mutual:

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A LITERARY POSTSCRIPT:
EDWARD MARSTON

It is a little tenuous but I cannot miss this opportunity to mention one of my favourite writers, Edward Marston. His series set in the Restoration period (a couple of centuries before London Underground – but his Railway Detective series needs only to move forward five more years to overlap with the beginning of London Undeground) features Christopher Redmayne as its leading character, and his errant brother Henry lives at Covent Garden.