The Anonymous Widower

The Shape Of Stations To Come

Oakwood, Southgate or Arnos Grove it isn’t but this image from Transport for London is the new Nine Elms station on the Northern Line Extension.

Nine Elms Station

Nine Elms Station

But is it so different to  Clapham South station?

Clapham South Station

Clapham South Station

Except that the architecture is from a different era and the over-site development is higher.

We will be seeing a lot more stations like Nine Elms.

Some have already seen that type of development or developments are in progress.

There should be more.

I think we’ll see different types of station design. Some with developments and others without.

The Station With Appropriate Towers On Top

These will be interpretations of the Nine Elms or Clapham South principles.

There certainly should be more stations with housing, offices, schools, universities or hospitals on the top.

A property developer told me, that he was developing schemes for housing on or close to stations in London, with little or no car parking. They are popular, sell like hot cakes and are very profitable.

The Station Under A Landscaped Area With Clusters Of Towers Around

This design is emerging and I suspect that the definitive prototype could be built at Old Street station. This is a visualisation from Transport for London.

The Future Old Street Station

The Future Old Street Station

I suspect we’ll see similar approaches at Elephant and CastleHighbury and Islington and other stations on a roundabout, square or park.

I like this approach for various reasons.

  • The design improves the passenger experience.
  • It is very cycling- and walking-friendly.
  • TfL seem to have taxi-ranks in their thinking.
  • It gives the opportunity to make the train-bus interface an easy one.
  • Cafes and kiosks are easily incorporated.
  • As development around the station is spread around, it is probably easier to bring together and finance, than a tower-on-top solution.
  • It doesn’t require much modification or demolition of existing buildings.

But there are disadvantages.

  • Badly done, it can be a nightmare on a wet or windy day.
  • The approach can also have negative effects on other road users.

Although there doesn’t seem to be too many complaints about the half-finished scheme at the Elephant, which will enable the new station, in the media.

My taxi-driver was complaining about Highbury Corner last night, but then that scheme hasn’t even started and the extensive works to replace the bridge and sewers are ongoing.

The Roofed Station

We have a tradition in this country of giving rail stations spectacular roofs.

Surely the latest and one of the best is the new roof over Manchester Victoria station, which I wrote about in Victoria Gets A Posh Umbrella. Here’s one of my pictures.

Manchester Victoria Station Is Nearly Finished


If you think it was all amazing expensive read this article from the Manchester Evening News entitled Stunning pictures show latest progress of £44m Victoria Station refurbishment.

Good design is often much more affordable than crap design.

Imagine electric trains, trams and possibly electric buses and taxis under an umbrella, with developments all around. Someone will and it will be the most spectacular and passenger-friendly station in the world.

The Innovative Solution

I don’t discount totally innovative solutions like the new Blackfriars station, although that station is more of a spectacular architectural set-piece, than a practical station.

  • I’ve had complaints from staff, saying it is a cold and draughty place to work at times.
  • Changing between Southbound Thameslink services and the bay platforms is not easy.
  • There should be a walking route across the Thames incorporated in the station.
  • I’ve never seen a train in the bay platforms.

But to be fair, I think that the Blackfriars station, we see now, is not the one that was envisaged by Thameslink. Original plans called for all Sutton Loop services to terminate at Blackfriars. But this was overturned, by those knowledgeable enthusiasts for good design, the elected members of the House of Commons.


Innovate and go forward, rather than cast the past in stone.


March 17, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,

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