The Anonymous Widower

Step-Free Interchanges In East London

This map from,fr shows the lines around where I live, which can be best described as a post code of N1.

Lines Around N1

Lines Around N1

I live halfway on the diagonal line between Dalston Kingsland and Essex Road stations. Years ago, there used to be a station at Mildmay Park, between Dalston Kingsland and Csnonbury, which if it still existed would be very useful for me, as it would be about a hundred and fifty metres away.

So my journeys often start from one of the half dozen bus routes, that have stops within fifty metres or so of where I live.

  • I’ll take a 38, 30, 56 or 277 to Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction stations for the North London Line and East London Line respectively.
  • I’ll take a 141 to Manor House station for the Piccadilly Line.
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Essex Road station for the Northern City Line
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Angel station for the Northern Line.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Moorgate for the Metropolitan and Circle Lines
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to London Bridge for main line trains.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Bank for the Central and Waterloo and City Lines
  • I’ll take a 56 bus to St. Paul’s for the Central Line
  • I’ll take 30 bus to Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston for main line trains.

Who said the three most important things when buying a house, are location, location and location?

Strangely, I rarely go directly to Highbury and Islington station, as the station is one of the worst in London for passenger convenience, with long and crowded tunnels and no step-free access to the deep tunnels.

If I need to go North on the Victoria Line, I will sometimes go to Essex Road and then take the Northern City Line for one stop to Highbury and Islington station, where there is a step-free level interchange to the Victoria Line.

There are several of these interchanges in East London, making train and tube travel easier.

Northern City And Victoria Lines At Highbury And Islington Station

This map from, shows the layout of lines at the station.


Note how the two Northbound lines and the two Southbound lines of the Victoria and Northern City Lines are paired, so that passengers can just walk through one of several short tunnels that connect the two platforms.

This connection will get more important in the future, as improvements will bring more passengers through the interchange.

  • Highbuty and Islington station will be rebuilt, with access to the deep level platforms much improved.
  • If traffic said it was needed, the Southbound and Northbound deep-level platforms, which are not far apart might even be connected together and to a second entrance on the other side of Holloway Road.
  • The Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will give an increase in capacity and I believe that the frequency on the Northern City Line will improve to 6, 8 or even 10 trains per hour (tph), thus making my ducking and diving easier.
  • The Northern City Line will connect to Crossrail and for the first time N1 to lots of places, will be one change at Moorgate from the Northern City Line to Crossrail.
  • The Victoria Line will increase in frequency to possibly 40 tph and benefit from station improvements at stations like Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central.

It should also be noted how the Crossrail connection at Moorgate will help me.

When going to football at Ipswich, I may walk to Essex Road and then get a train to Moorgate, where I will take Crossrail to perhaps Shenfield for a fast train to Ipswich.

But who knows what I’ll do, as there will be several different routes, all of which will have their advantages?

East London Line To North London Line At Highbury And Islington Station

This is only from the East London Line trains arriving from West Croydon in Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to Westbound trains on the North London Line in Platform 7.

Although not as powerful as the double interchange at Highbury and Islington station between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it is typical of well-thought out connections all over the Overground.

Piccadilly And Victoria Lines At Finsbury Park Station

This is a cross-platform interchange, that is heavily used as effectively it gives a simple choice of route through Central London for passengers from the Northern ends of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. It’s a pity that the interchange between the two lines at Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park aren’t as simple.

Metropolitan/District And Central Lines At Mile End Station

This picture gives a flavour of the interchange at Mile End station.

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

It is a cross-platform interchange, that I use more and more, to go to the East on the Central Line. I usually arrive on a Metropolitan/District Line train from Whitechapel station, which is just a few stops down the East London Line.

Central Line And Shenfield Metro/Crossrail At Stratford Station

This interchange at Stratford station is going to be an integral part of Crossrail, as it will firmly connect the new line to the Central Line, with advantages to both.

This picture shows the interchange on the Eastbound platform.

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

This interchange is certainly well-used and Crossrail will only increase that use.

Why Is This Not Done More Often?

These interchanges seem to work well!

But what always puzzles me, is why this layout is not used more often. And I don’t just mean in London. In all my travels, I can’t remember getting off a train in Europe and just walking across the platform to get a metro or a tram.

I suspect it could be because to get this type of interchange, you need to build some expensive railway infrastructure.

All of the examples I have given concern where a new line is being added to an existing network.

I am surprised that Crossrail doesn’t use a similar interchange anywhere else on its route.

Look at the Crossrail stations I documented in How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

In all stations, the Crossrail and fast lines are in pairs, whereas to get Cross-platform interchange between fast and stopping services, probably needs a different layout. That is not the fault of Crossrail, but the way the Great Eastern Main Line was built decades ago.

At the London end of  the East Coast Main Line, the two slow lines are on either side of the two fast lines. At Stevenage, they have put two island platforms between the slow and fast lines, so that passengers have a cross-platform interchange between trains.

Stevenage Station

Stevenage Station

The Google Map clearly shows the layout.







July 5, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] In Step-Free Interchanges In East London, I pointed out the excellent interchange between Crossrail and the Central Line at Stratford, which sadly is Crossrail’s only top quality interchange to other lines. […]

    Pingback by Crossrail’s Loops And Branches Across London « The Anonymous Widower | July 6, 2016 | Reply

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