INTRODUCTION

All of this post bar this introduction has appeared on aspi.blog a few moments ago. Because the road at the heart of it all is Exhbition Road, London, close to both South Kensington and Gloucester Road (each served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines) I am also posting it here. Here is a satellite view of the area:

WHAT IS A SHARED SPACE ROAD?

A shared space road is a road without pavements, with no clear distinctions between where cars, cyclists and pedestrians should be. According to some this arrangement reduces accidents. However, a recent incident on London’s Exhibition Road has called this into question. Here is a tweet from campaign group Transport for All:

This (to me) raises two questions to be taken in turn:

CAN SHARED SPACE ROADS WORK?

I am uncertain on this one and will welcome evidence from people with experience of shared space roads in their localities. My own view is that they could work but the following is necessary:

  • Clear signage explaining what a shared space road is and what that means.
  • A very low speed limit for motor vehicles (even lower than the 20mph which is now commonplace in the vicinity of schools) fiercely enforced – speeding on a shared space street should be punished more severely than speeding elsewhere because of the greater risk of hitting someone.
  • Referring back to my first bullet point it needs to made clear that motorists are always expected to give way to cyclists and pedestrians.

Given what I know of London drivers I do not think that London is the right city to be trialling these (although Rome and Paris would both clearly by even worse options!)

SHOULD EXHIBITION ROAD
BE A SHARED SPACE ROAD?

Absolutely not – it should be completely pedestrianised. There are excellent public transport connections in this part of the world.

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

INTRODUCTION

This post focuses on a single station. The idea developed from a conversation with a work colleague in which trips to London were mentioned and he explained that with a family of four it was cheaper to drive to Epping, stay overnight at a hotel there and use London Underground from there than to travel by train.

THE NORTHEASTERN CORNER

Epping, first served by London Underground in 1940 (the whole stretch of the Central line beyond Stratford started life as Great Eastern Railway branch line, and Loughton, three stops south of Epping, still has its Victorian era GER building), is now the north-eastern limit of the system (more of this later, and also see the speculative section of the piece about the central line). There is cheap hotel accommodation close to the station, which means the for folk who would naturally approach the city from the northeast and drive it is a good place to choose as a base for a visit to the capital. Because of its interchanges with every other line on the system the central line is a good one to be based on, as Danny Dorling in “The 32 Stops”, the best of the penguin series celebrating the 150th anniversary of London Underground, points out. A few examples of major attractions and the necessary connections follow:

  • The museums of South Kensington (either change at Mile End to the District or at Holborn to the Piccadilly according to choice, bonus tip: take a picnic with you and lunch in Hyde Park).
  • Maritime Greenwich – change at Stratford to the Docklands Light Railway and choose one of two possibilities:
    1)Alight at Island Gardens and take the foot tunnel to the Greenwich side of the Thames, returning to Greenwich having finished your explorations or…
    2)Unimaginatively alight at Cutty Sark to start your explorations there.
  • The British Museum – no changes needed as Tottenham Court Road is only a few hundred yards away.
  • Wembley Stadium – change at Stratford to the Jubilee or at Liverpool Street to the Metropolitan
  • The South Bank Centre – change at Tottenham Court Road to the Northern and go south to Embankment, strolling across the Thames from there (this is definitely quicker than travelling the extra stop to Waterloo).

At the moment Epping is at the outside edge of fare zone 6, although London mayoral candidate Sian Berry has an excellent idea that will change this – see the following:

  1. Sian’s own piece
  2. This Evening Standard article
  3. This piece about the debate on fares.
  4. The Fair Fares campaign

Having detailed Epping’s value as a base our next section looks at…

THINGS TO DO IN EPPING

I mentioned earlier that Epping was not always the end of the line. Until 1994 the line ran to Ongar, although the section between Epping and Ongar was run as a shuttle service, making it feel very isolated. It is this that is at the centre of Epping based activities. There is a walking route from Epping to Ongar as detailed in “Country Walks Around London”, walk 12. This walk is 5 miles in length, meaning that an energetic person could choose to do it both ways.

DSCN9310 DSCN9311

However, there is also an alternative way of doing the same route, namely making use of the Epping-Ongar Railway, the longest heritage railway in Essex. Thus, if you want to explore this area that used by served by London Underground (and the village of Chipping Ongar is certainly worth a visit) you have a raft of options according to your energy levels:

  • Walk both ways
  • Walk out, Epping and Ongar Railway back
  • Epping and Ongar railway out, walk back
  • Epping and Ongar railway both ways

MAPS AND DIAGRAMS

Here are some pictures to help put Epping in context…

The Diagrammatic History

The Diagrammatic History

Epping today

Epping today

The map from which this picture comes is over 100 years old.

The map from which this picture comes is over 100 years old.

The London & Suburbs section ends at Woodford, which Danny Dorling echoed over a century later in The 32 Stops.

The London & Suburbs section ends at Woodford, which Danny Dorling echoed over a century later in The 32 Stops.

The first of two Google earth views

The first of two Google earth views

Epping2

This map featured in an article detailing the fact that London Overground will now run all suburban rail services in the capital.

This map featured in an article detailing the fact that London Overground will now run all suburban rail services in the capital.

 

INTRODUCTION

It has been a while since I last posted on this site due it being Christmas. During the Christmas period itself I stayed with my parents and sundry other family members in East Rudham (from the 24th to the 28th to be exact, there being no public transport on the 25th and 26th – which I wholeheartedly agree with – and the 27th being a Sunday), and I chose to not to take my computer with me. Appropriately my return to action on this site has to do with a Christmas present.

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT

This present was unexpected in two ways – I had no idea that I would be getting it, and it came from someone who I had not expected to get me a present in any case. The purchaser of the present (my cousin Amanda) had not been going to get me anything until she saw this item. It was a set of playing cards in an aluminium box, and on the front of the box and also on the back of each individual card was an extract from the London Underground map! A wonderful choice of present.

The playing cards are a little indistinct in this picture.

The playing cards are a little indistinct in this picture.

So i also took this one focussing specifically on the cards.

So i also took this one focussing specifically on the cards.

This picture has been further adapted to include the name of the station that is there but not named.

This picture has been further adapted to include the name of the station that is there but not named.

AN UNUSUAL FEATURE FOR AN ENGLISH PACK OF CARDS

Aside from the pattern, and the box in which they come there is one other unusual feature about this pack as compared to a standard English pack – the first picture below is the ace of spades from this pack, while the second is the same card from a pack of Waddington’s no 1s…

An unadorned ace of spades.

An unadorned ace of spades.

The traditional English ace of spades - the reason for this fancy card is that back in the day playing cards were heavily taxed, and manufacturers were only allowed to make 51 of the playing cards, receiving the ace of spades to complete the deck once they had paid the tax.

The traditional English ace of spades – the reason for this fancy card is that back in the day playing cards were heavily taxed, and manufacturers were only allowed to make 51 of the playing cards, receiving the ace of spades to complete the deck once they had paid the tax.

 

INTRODUCTION

The first piece of writing I offered the public about London Underground was a blog post about this station. From that start grew this website, I now produce a new piece about…

DSCN8047

THE HISTORY

In 1868, The Metropolitan District Railway was opened as a partner to the Metropolitan Railway, with the intention of among other things creating an ‘Inner Circle’ linking all of central London’s main destinations. Due to frequent squabbles between the two organisations it was 16 years before the circle was completed. A legacy of this fractious beginning can be seen in the now unused bay platform that was created for the use of Metropolitan Railway trains. In 1906 the deep-level part of the station opened, when an amalgamation of parts of three proposed schemes opened running between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith (this is the nucleus of the modern Piccadilly line, since extended north to Cockfosters and having subsumed the Uxbridge and Hounslow branches of the District).

DSCN8050 DSCN8052

MUSEUM MEDLEY

The chief point of interest of this station’s location are the museums which are close by. This is recognised in the presence of an underground passage from the ticket hall to Exhibition Road, with exits at the appropriate point for each museum. The number of museums in this area has reduced by one since I was a child because the Geological and Natural History museums were amalgamated to form one giant museum. There are now three major museums in this area:

what's on

The Natural History Museum

The Science Museum

V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum

THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC

The Royal College of Music is based on Prince Consort Road, very close to the Albert Hall, just south of Hyde Park. I have a map which makes it’s relevance to this station very obvious. Yet another famous place in this area.

RCM

A COUPLE OF ARCHITECTURAL QUIRKS

For those who shun the underground passageway referred to above, there is a small shopping arcade of the type that many London Underground stations used to have, and some attractive 1868 ironwork to have a look at.

SKA

Ironwork

MAPS – ANCIENT & MODERN

I conclude this  post with some maps showing the station’s history and modern connections…

DSCN8048 DSCN8049

The July 2015 London Underground map.

The July 2015 London Underground map.

A North-South biased extract.

A North-South biased extract.

An East-West biased extract.

An East-West biased extract.

 

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…

DSCN5378

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:

DSCN5358

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…

DSCN5359 DSCN5363

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…

DSCN5368

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…

DSCN5217

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…

DSCN5214

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…

DSCN5207

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

DSCN5210

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…

DSCN5213

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…)

DSCN5366 DSCN5367

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…

DSCN5357

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…

DSCN8495

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…

DSCN5208 DSCN5215 DSCN5218 DSCN5219 DSCN5360 DSCN5361 DSCN5364

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.

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).

DSCN4794

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

DSCN4797

INTRODUCTION

Previously I have limited this series to coverage of individual stations, but now I am introducing something new – full line coverage in single posts. I will give a brief glimpse of this history the line and then a little journey from west to east along the current line. I hope you all enjoy this.

THE GREAT ORIGINAL

On January the 10th 1863 the history of  public transport changed forever. It was then, having been constructed at the urging of city solicitor Charles Pearson in conjunction with a major road building scheme, that the world’s first underground railway, The Metropolitan Railway, opened for business. It covered just seven stops (about one fortieth of the number now served by London Underground) from Bishop’s Road (Paddington) to Farringdon Street (a little to the south of present day Farringdon). Only one line serves all of the surviving original stations (the circle and district station at Paddington is a later creation, originally called Praed Street), and that is the Hammersmith and City line. Although this was only officially separated  from the Metropolitan line in 1990, it makes sense for the purposes of this section to talk about all the branches the relate to this section as though it had always been separate. Viewed in this way, there were a total of three branches that are no longer served:

Latimer Road to Kensington (Addison Road), which latter station is now called Kensington Olympia – the London Underground connection to it from the north was severed in 1940 and has never been reinstated. Goldhawk Road to Richmond, which was served between 1877 and 1906. The only station which was completely lost as a result of the cutting of this connection was Hammersmith (Grove Road). The final connection was a track connection via a long since defunct station called St Mary’s to Shadwell on what used to be the East London line and is now part of London Overground, though deeper below the surface than any of the remaining ‘subsurface’ stations on London Underground.

Before moving on to the journey, here are a couple of map pics…

The Hammersmith and City line's history

The Hammersmith and City line’s history

In its present day setting

In its present day setting

THE JOURNEY

I am not going to cover every station – just those that have a particular association for me. Those who have read previous posts of mine about this subject will be aware that I was disgusted by Philippe Parreno’s failure to meet the brief (in my eyes) for his contribution to Penguin’s 150th anniversary series of books when he got this line and produced a book that contained no words, just a series of very ethereal pictures which bore little apparent relation to the subject.

HAMMERSMITH

There is a shopping centre here, also the Lyric theatre, and although I mentioned him in piece on Baron’s Court, you are withing easy walking distance of St Paul’s Girls School, where Gustav Holst was once director of music.

LATIMER ROAD

It was from this station that the line to what is now Kensington Olympia diverged, and because this is an elevated section, track heading towards Olympia is clearly visible from the train as you travel past here.

PADDINGTON

This is the only one of the London mainline railway termini where a London Underground line is structurally part of the station. This dates to the original opening of the Metropolitan railway in 1863, when they used locomotives supplied by the Great Western Railway before falling out with that company and switching to stock supplied by the Great Northern before finally developing some of their own.

EDGWARE ROAD

This is where the Circle line and a spur of the District meet the Hammersmith and City line (the District and Circle “Paddington” represents a decent interchange to the Bakerloo, but for the Hammersmith and City you are much better off travelling the extra stop to Edgware Road and making a cross-platform interchange.

BAKER STREET

The Hammersmith and City line platforms here (nos 5 and 6 out of a total of 10) have been restored to look as they did in 1863. This is also home to Madame Tussauds, The Planetarium and of course it is where the world’s first consulting detective had his practice.

EUSTON SQUARE

As well as being across the road from London’s first mainline railway terminal (Euston), this is the home station for University College London (UCL for short). Just round the corner from this station is Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines), and a view at surface level that includes both the BT Tower and Centrepoint.

KINGS CROSS ST PANCRAS

At the surface a complete contrast in styles between the ‘fairytale castle’ that is St Pancras and the largely anonymous Kings Cross. The train from King’s Lynn to London terminates at King’s Cross, usually in the ‘side’ section that comprises platforms 8-11. It is here that claims to be the site for platform 9 3/4 from which the Hogwarts Express departs.

FARRINGDON

A cross-platform interchange to Thameslink services running between Bedford and Brighton. When I worked at Interpretations I used this station regularly. I also recall this area as home to the Betsey Trotwood, a pub that combined two things I love – Dickens and Real Ale.

BARBICAN

This station opened as Aldersgate Street, then became Aldersgate before finally getting its present name of Barbican. This is one of the venues where I listened to live classical music when I lived in London. I also saw various Royal Shakespeare Company productions here.

MOORGATE

There is a terminus here for mainline trains coming in from Finsbury Park, and there used to be a spur of Thameslink to here as well, but all of these were below the surface here, so there have never been any above ground tracks. With my home station being Tooting Bec, I used the Northern line platforms here more often than the others. Although St Pauls on the Central line is closer, I used to use this station on occasion to visit the Museum of London – accessible from there by way of the Barbican Centre.

LIVERPOOL STREET

An interchange to mainline railways, and also to the Central line. Also the point at which the Hammersmith and City diverges from the Circle and Metropolitan lines which go to Aldgate, while the Hammersmith and City heads to…

ALDGATE EAST

This is where the Hammersmith and City and District lines meet, and from the platforms here you can see Circle and Metropolitan line trains heading in to Aldgate as well. It was just beyond this station that a side branch used to diverge to St Mary’s and Shadwell, joining what was then the East London Railway, has subsequently been the East London line of London Underground and is now a section of London Overground.

WHITECHAPEL

An interchange between the District and Hammersmith and City lines and London Overground. Currently in the news because a museum supposed to be dedicated to women was actually a Jack the Ripper museum, which led to a petition and a project to create a museum that really is dedicated to the women of the East end.

MILE END

The only underground cross-platform interchange between a deep-level tube line and subsurface lines on the entire system. This station also has large enamelled maps from times past featuring the Metorpolitan and District lines.

WEST HAM

Interchanges with mainline railways, London Overground, The Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway (this branch has taken over Stratford-North Woolwich, which was previously on Silverlink Metro (London Overground’s predecessor) with the addition of a trans-Thames extension to Woolwich Arsenal).

BARKING

This is the eastern end of the Hammersmith and City line, although the District continues to Upminster (logic would seem to suggest that the H&C with far less to the west than the District should do the longer haul east rather than vice versa). This station has interchanges with main line railways (to Southend and Shoeburyness) and London Overground (a branch line the other end of which is at Gospel Oak).

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest addition to my series “London Station by Station”. This particular post is also a tribute to the East End Women’s Museum project. I hope that you will all enjoy it and that some of you at least will share it.

WHITECHAPEL – NOT ALL ABOUT THE RIPPER

Whitechapel, which today serves the District and Hammersmith and City lines with a quirky interchange to London Overground, first opened in 1884, although the current station dates only from 1913. The quirkiness of the interchange to London Overground lies in the fact that the direction of travel from London Underground to London Overground is downwards.

A while back a museum was given planning permission on the grounds that it would be dedicated to women of the East End. It turned out that the person behind it had been lying through their teeth and the museum was actually dedicated to Jack the Ripper. A petition having been launched against the Ripper museum, a determined group of people are now setting out to create a museum that genuinely is dedicated to the women of the East End, featuring stories like the one in this book:

Book DSCN4510 DSCN4511

I finish this brief post with some map pics…

DSCN4505 DSCN4508 DSCN4509