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 good folk at the Museum of London, easily walkable from St Pauls (Central line) and Moorgate (Northern, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and mainline railways) are running an exhibition on the the archaeology of the Elizabeth line, which is built on an East-West axis through London and because of its depth also cuts vertically through millennia of fascinating history. As an introduction to this new exhibition they have produced a spectacular…

VIDEO

 

A FINAL LINK

For more about this fascinating new exhibition and about tunnel archaeology please visit the appropriate page on the Museum of London’s website by clicking here.

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

I used this station on my way back from an event I attended at Student Central, Malet Street, London this Saturday (click here for more details).

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Tottenham Court Road station opened as part of the Central London Railway, now the Central line, in 1900. In 1907 the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway, now the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, opened a station called Oxford Street, which was renamed Tottenham Court Road to match the CLR station in 1908. The site has been the subject of extensive building works as part of the creation of what will now be called the Elizabeth line, but which was originally known as East-West Crossrail in its planning stages and then as Crossrail.

This will be a link route, approaching London from the direction of Reading, with a tunnel section through central London and then taking over the existing TFL route to Shenfield, from where trains will be able to run to various destinations in further flung parts of the East of England (and mutatis mutandis for the Reading end of the plan and Western England and Wales).

A scheme that started life three decades ago as a plan for new tube line between Hackney and Chelsea will in due time become a second cross-rail scheme linking the southwestern main line railways with those to the northeast of the capital.

As part of all these goings on Tottenham Court Road now has two smart and futuristic new surface buildings.

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To finish this post here are a couple of map sections…

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INTRODUCTION

This post looks at one of the more distinctive stations on the system. I have some good illustrations for you.

THE HISTORY

The original station was opened in 19o2 serving the District line, as that line expanded east. In 1936 services on what was then the Hammersmith & City section of the Metropolitan line started calling there as that route was extended along the line of the District to Barking. Finally, in 1946, as part of an extension to enable Central line trains to run over former Great Eastern Railway tracks to Ongar, that line came to Mile End in 1946. This history creates a…

UNIQUE INTERCHANGE

Mile End is the only place you can make a cross-platform underground interchange between a ‘tube’ railway (the Central) and a ‘subsurface’ railway (District or Hammersmith & City). All other situations where this is possible (e.g District & Piccadilly at Barons Court are surface level stations).

STEP-FREE ACCESS: A PETITION

Although much progress has been made in recent years, London Underground is still a long way from being fully accessible to disabled people (and that is an understatement – see here), and one station that at present falls short is Mile End, which is the subject of this petition, which I have previously shared here.

UNIVERSITY AND ILLUSTRATIONS

Just before showing you the pictures, Mile End is home to Queen Mary University. Now for the pictures…

Modern connections around Mile End

Modern connections around Mile End

The history.

The history.

An image of the station front, courtesy of google maps.

An image of the station front, courtesy of google maps.

Mile End on Google Earth

Mile End on Google Earth

Courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk…

The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943, in which 173 people were crushed to death, was the UK’s largest single loss of civilian life during World War II. Dr Joan Martin MBE had been qualified for just one year when she led the hospital team treating the casualties.

Source: Bethnal Green Tube Disaster: ‘I tried to black it out’ – BBC News

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 post deals with a station at the eastern end of the central line, and was in part inspired by an auction lot that I recently imaged.

THE HISTORY

In 1903 the Great Eastern Railway opened what was then called the “Fairlop Loop“. In those days it connected Woodford on the Ongar branch to Ilford on the mainline, with an eastward connection for goods trains and stock transfers to Seven Kings. Nowadays these latter two connection have long since been severed, and since 1947 the loop under the new title the Hainault Loop has been part of the eastern end of the Central line.

STATIONS SERVED

From north-west to south-east

Fairlop Loop diverges from the Ongar (now Epping) Branch at Woodford Junction

  • Roding Valley, opened 3 February 1936 as Roding Valley Halt by the LNER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Chigwell, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Grange Hill, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 21 November 1948.[2]
  • Hainault, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 1 October 1908 to 3 March 1930. Closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Fairlop, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Barkingside, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 22 May 1916 to 30 June 1919. Closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 31 May 1948.[2]
  • Newbury Park, opened 1 May 1903 by the GER, closed 29 November 1947, re-opening 14 December 1947 as part of the Central line.[2]
Former connection: Fairlop Loop joins Great Eastern Main Line via westward curve between Newbury Park Junction and Ilford Carriage Sidings Junction
    • Ilford, opened 20 June 1839[15] by the Eastern Counties Railway. Operated by TfL Rail as of May 2015. Connection closed 30 November 1947.[2]
Former connection (freight-only): Fairlop Loop joins Great Eastern Main Line via eastward curve between Newbury Park Junction and Seven Kings West Junction
    • Seven Kings, opened 1 March 1899[15] by the GER. Operated by TfL Rail as of May 2015. Connection closed 19 March 1956.[2] (not served by scheduled Fairlop Loop passenger trains)

Remainder of Fairlop loop connects with Central line tube from Leytonstone (nowadays both parts referred to as the “Hainault Loop”)

re-joins the Ongar (Epping) Branch at Leytonstone Junction

  • Leytonstone, opened 22 August 1856 by the ECR, closed briefly, re-opening 5 May 1947.[2]

FAIRLOP WATERS COUNTRY PARK

There is one significant site served by this station: Fairlop Waters Country Park. If you visit the link I have just given you, you will see that many outdoor activities are available there.

THE PICTURE THAT STARTED IT

Lot 259 in James and Sons April auction is a copy of Edmund Blunden’s English Villages, and one of the illustrations (it is superbly illustrated) that caught my eye was this one:

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The full photo gallery for this lot, and plenty more good pics can be found here.

Postscript: I have just received a notification from Fairlop Waters’ twitter account that this years Fairlop Fair will be on Saturday 2nd July.

INTRODUCTION

Following on from my post “Epping – Gateway to London“, this post features two old stations and some prime walking territory.

CONTRASTING HISTORIES

Chingford opened in 1878 as part of the Eastern Counties Railway, which subsequently became the Great Eastern Railway, and until this local commuter line was subsumed into London Overground there were no other significant changes. It had originally been seen as being an intermediate station, but then a change to the status of Epping Forest effectively rendered extension impossible (and quite rightly so).

Loughton, also originally on an Eastern Counties/ Great Eastern Railway branch, first opened in 1856, with the Central line taking over the running of this branch from Stratford to its original terminus at Ongar in 1948-9 (it is not the oldest section of line to be run be London Underground – the northern end of the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, which opened under the aegis of the London & North Eastern Railway in 1841 has that distinction). The station building at Loughton, pictured below (from this original posted on 150greatthingsabouttheunderground) clearly shows its Victorian origins:

Loughton Station

For more information about the two stations here a couple of links:

Chingford
Loughton

WHY THE JUXTAPOSITION?

First off, the two stations are actually reasonably close together (although not close enough for even me to suggest that it would be worth showing a potential interchange between them), as this map shows…

Chingford - Loughton

Secondly, while looking for walks around Epping, I saw this walk from Chingford to Epping which passes High Beach Visitor Centre:

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I recalled the route down from this visitor centre to Loughton station, following the Loughton Brook as being an attractive one (I walked it, in both directions, several times when I was living in London). Thus, given the amount of material I already had for the Epping post I decided on a second post to make use of this find. Here is the map produced by the visitor centre website:

Epping Forest

Also, just to show you the length of the long walking route I have in mind, Chingford-High Beach Visitor Centre – Loughton, here are two more maps…

The first section of the walk, from Chingford.

The first section of the walk, from Chingford.

The second section of the walk, to Loughton

The second section of the walk, to Loughton

Incidentally, one can follow the Loughton Brook beyond Loughton to the point at which it flows into the river Roding as well.

MORE MAPS

The maps in this section, some old and some new, show more detail about these stations…

An A-Z double page spread.

An A-Z double page spread.

The digrammatic history.

The digrammatic history.

A geographical London Connections map (from the latter half of the 1990s)

A geographical London Connections map (from the latter half of the 1990s)

The 2015 London Connections map

The 2015 London Connections map

A tiny extract from a very old railway map of Britain.

A tiny extract from a very old railway map of Britain.

AFTERWORD – ON FARE ZONES

When I first visited that part of the world, Loughton had an extra distinction – it was the last point on the Central line that one could visit on a travel card (the Metropolitan also had stations outside the travel card zones – Moor Park being the boundary in that case). Nowadays all of London Underground falls within one or other fare zone, and there is a suggestion (massively endorsed by this site) on the table from London mayoral candidate Sian Berry that would further simplify matters.