The Anonymous Widower

TfL Drives Forward With ‘Hugely Exciting’ Tube Station Development

The title of this post, is the same as the title of this article in Rail Technology Magazine.

The station involved is South Kensington station,

Work to be done includes.

  • New housing will be added.
  • Upgrading of the Grade II listed shopping arcade.
  • A second entrance developed via the pedestrian subway will be developed.
  • Facilities will be improved for  current and new residents.
  • Step-free access will be provided to the District and Circle Lines.

This article in the Architects Journal gives more details.

The article also hopes everything can be completed by 2022.

Is this development the shape of things to come?

You have the following.

  • A tube station which is not in the best condition.
  • There is space to add much-needed housing.
  • It is an important transport location.
  • Annual passenger entry and exit in 2016 was 33.6 million.
  • It is a building with a partial Grade II Listing.
  • TfL have appointed a world-class firm of architects.

A successful property developer, with access to finance, could turn this into something that benefits all stakeholders; local residents;TfL, London taxpayers, staff and passengers.

Within walking distance or a short bus ride of my house, there are seven stations.

  • Dalston Junction is a new station with step-free access and high-rise housing on top.
  • Haggerston station is a new step-free station, that is probably fully developed.
  • Canonbury station is an older station, that has been made step-free. It is fully-developed.

But, the other four need development.

Dalston Kingsland

Dalston Kingsland station was rebuilt in the last couple of years with a new gate line and booking office.

  • The station has narrow platforms, not much shelter and no step-free access.
  • Passenger entry and exit for 2016-17 were over six million.
  • Next door, Taylor Wimpey are building a residential tower called 57 East.

Full development of this station is probably waiting for a decision about Crossrail 2.

Essex Road

Essex Road station is a station out of another era, but what era is hard to say.

  • It is a solid red brick building, built around the start of the Twentieth Century.
  • The building has little architectural merit.
  • Underground, the history of the station is echoed by faded Underground and Network Southeast liveries.
  • It could do with a good clean.
  • Access to the trains is by lifts and could probably stand-in for access to one of London’s Second World War bunkers.
  • It may have lifts, but it is not step-free.
  • Passenger entry and exit in 2016-17 was under a million.

It is a seriously neglected station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

It is on a junction of two major roads, with some gardens, a few local stops and several important bus routes.

If the train-related parts of the building were updated with modern decor and lighting, full step-free access, this station could see a serious increase in passenger traffic.

The following, should also be born in mind.

  • The rather rudimentary forty-year old Class 313 trains will be replaced by brand-new Class 717 trains designed for the unique operation of the Northern City Line.
  • The new trains should bring an increase in frequency in trains through Essex Road station.
  • At the end of 2018, the Northern City Line will have a step-free connection to Crossrail and a dry underground waking route to Liverpool Street station at Moorgate station.

There is also the possibility, that was raised by Chris Gibb, of transferring the Northern City Line to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – Moorgate Services Could Be Transferred To The London Overground.

So it would appear that whatever happens, the train service and station will be improved and Essex Road station will become a lot more important.

Surely, the obvious way to pay for the improvements at Essex Road station, is to develop the building into some housing in keeping with the area.

Highbury and Islington

Highbury and Islington station is the fifteenth busiest station in the UK and is busier than Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh Waverley.

It is a major interchange between the following lines.

  • East London Line
  • North London Line
  • Victoria Line
  • Northern City Line

Currently, it handles nearly thirty million passengers a year.

But that number is surely going to increase.

  • The East London Line is adding another four trains per hour (tph)
  • Extra trains will be running on the North London Line.
  • Dear Old Vicky will cram more passengers in.
  • The improved Northern City line will have more and better trains.
  • The Northern City Line will provide a step-free connection for Victoria Line passengers to Crossrail.

Highbury and Islington station is a station where the below-ground platforms are in desperate need of improvement and step-free access.

At least there should be no problems demolishing the station buildings at Highbury and Islington, as a flying bomb did that in 1944.

It was an impressive building.

However, there are factors that will help an architect,  after the Nazi damage and some unsympathetic 1960s development, when the Victoria Line was built.

  • The flying bomb destroyed all parts of the station with architectural merit.
  • The Victorian bridge over the Overground lines is being replaced.
  • The traffic is being sorted.
  • Pedestrian areas are being created to link the station entrance to the green space in the middle of Highbury Corner.
  • There is already an unused and intact second entrance to the station on the other side of Holloway Road.

This could be one of the best stations in London, with perhaps some of the best places to live in London on top.

Old Street

Old Street station is another bad station.

  • It sits in the middle of a roundabout called Silicon Roundabout.
  • The roundabout is surrounded by tower blocks, which are both residential and commercial.
  • It is owned by Transport for London.
  • It is served by the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Passenger entrances and exits are amos thirty million a year.
  • The station has escalators, but is not step-free.

This is surely, a site, where a tall residential block should be built above an improved station.

But getting the right building and mix will be difficult.


These four could all be redeveloped by imaginative architects and property developers to create better transport hubs and a sensible amount of useful housing development.

I hope TfL, architects and developers are scouring London for suitable sites.


March 6, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , ,

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