The Anonymous Widower

Hackney Wick Station Opens

Hackney Wick station is now almost fully rebuilt and the new facilities are open to passengers

It is a design, that draws heavily on brutalist architecture, but the general feeling is that people seem to like the station.

The station is simple in layout, with a double subway through the embankment, which was built alongside and inserted at Easter 2017, as I wrote about in A Tough Way To Spend Easter.

  • One side of the subway is reserved for ticketed passengers and the other when it opens will be a new route under the railway.
  • Access to the platforms on top of the embankment is by well-designed high capacity staircases and two lifts.
  • The staircases have similar hand-rails with built-in LED lighting, as I saw yesterday at Abbey Wood station.
  • The station does not have ticket gates and relies on passengers to just touch in, as at several stations on the London Overground.
  • But then the station will be used for large sporting events at the Olympic Stadium.
  • It also has wider platforms than it used, to accommodate large numbers of passengers.

There is still some work to do, like adding the signage and opening the subway for those not using the railway.

I only met one person, who didn’t like the station. He struck me as an artistic type and said the money should have been spent on other things.

But Hackney Wick needed a new high-capacity station and a high-capacity walking route under the railway.

  • It is the nearest station to the Olympic stadium.
  • There is a large amount of housing development in the area.

Currently, the station handles two million passengers a year and this will surely rise.

A Comparison With The New White Hart Lane Station

Various sources say that the rebuilding of Hackney Wick station will cost £25million.

White Hart Lane station is also being rebuilt in conjunction with Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground and redevelopment of the area.

This also needs to give access to a high railway line, which is on a brick viaduct, that can be incorporated into the structure, rather than replaced, as at Hackney Wick.

According to this article in Construction Enquirer, the budget is £18million.

Modern step-free stations to handle two million passengers per year, don’t come cheap!

On the other hand, once built most stations last for at least a hundred years.

White Hart Lane opened in 1872, whereas Hackney Wick opened in 1980.

So it looks like the Victorians did a longer lasting job, than British Rail!

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Around Antwerp Station

I took these pictures of the magnificent Antwerp station in the evening light.

I certainly haven’t seen a better station in Belgium.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Hampstead Station – 12th May 2018

West Hampstead station is being rebuilt with a new entrance and a step-free footbridge.

The new station would appear to be able to handle more passengers.

This image on the BPR Architect’s web site, shows how it will look, when it opens.

The new station would appear to be able to handle more passengers.

It’s strikes me, that the design is almost a modern application of the rules, that created London Underground’s distinctive stations of the 1930s.

One of the routes I took to and from Minchenden School, involved two of the Piccadilly Line‘s iconic stations; Oakwood and Southgate. Both were designed by Charles Holden and are Grade II* listed buildings.

Those stations were and still are all about space, brickwork, glass, imaginative use of metal and clean lines, often with integrated retail units.

West Hampstead station appears similar, but the retail is more surrounding, than integrated.

Modern fabrication techniques with metal and plastics, also give the architects and designers more freedom.

I like the pierced steel cladding on the footbridge at West Hampstead station and it is probably a lot more affordable, than all the bronze used in Southgate station.

If my mother, who died a few years ago, came back and arrived at the new West Hampstead station on the London Overground, she’d only confuse it with a London Underground station.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Coventry Station – 1st May 2018

As I passed through Coventry station, I took these pictures.

It is not the best of stations.

  1. It needs a London-facing bay platform to handle trains from Kenilworth and Leamingtonj stations. But where would you put it?
  2. Where would you also put a bay platform to handle services to Nuneaton?
  3. But the biggest problem, is the stairs in the station.

To emphasise the last point, a lady of perhaps thirty had fallen down the stairs and the only  way, the paramedics could get her out was using an old-fasioned stretcher on the stairs. Where she had fallen didn’t have lift access.

The station may have lots of glass and be a noteworthy 1960s Grade II Listed building, but it needs to be rebuilt to a standard, that is fit for the twenty-first century.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

King’s Lynn Station

These pictures show King’s Lynn Station, which is Grade II Listed.


  1. It is not the normal design for a station in the UK.
  2. The station has two platforms, but could have add another.
  3. The facilities are at a high level for a station of this size, with a booking office, toilets and a cafe.
  4. The station was reopened by Michael Portillo. Who else?

Perhaps we should see more station designs, not in a standard corporate mould. Others include Birmingham Moor Street, Hanwell and Hebden Bridge.

The only problems with the station are that there aren’t enough trains and the information and signage for visitors could be better.

In an ideal world this would be the train service

  • At least two trains per hour in both directions.
  • Running between King’s Lynn and Cambridge, stopping at Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Waterbeach and Cambridge North.
  • Good interchange with services to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport at either Ely or Cambridge.

King’s Lynn station certainly has the capacity for more frequent trains.


April 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof

Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof is going through a controversial rebuilding called Stuttgart 21, so I had to choose to change trains there, between Karlsruhe and Essen.

The building opened in 1922 and was designed by Paul Bonztz. So it is almost the same age as Waterloo station.

The project is also costing about the same as the Thameslink Programme.

They all make an interesting comparison.

I can’t say that I understand what all the fuss is about.

This article on Deutsche Welle is entitled Stuttgart 21 – Germany’s Other Engineering Fiasco Goes Off The Rails.

This is the first paragraph.

Everyone in Germany has heard the jokes and seen the social media memes about Berlin’s BER airport. But the Stuttgart 21 railway project has also developed into a logistical nightmare — and a sinkhole for public money.

It doesn’t look to be a happy project.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Should This Be Done On More Building Projects?

Buckingham Group are building the new West Hampstead station on the North London Line.

This picture was taken of the architect’s layout drawing of the new station, that was fixed to the hoardings.

I wasn’t the only person giving it a good study.

I think it is a good way to inform the public.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment


The Bilbao Metro was designed by Foster and Partners.

Under Design, Wikipedia says this about access to the Metro.

Access to the metro is provided by ‘fosteritos’, glass structures affectionately named after the architect who designed them, Norman Foster. These modern-looking tunnels stand attractive alongside the modern and innovative interior of the stations.

These pictures show some of the fosteritos.

Crossrail’s Tottenham Court Road station has two square glass structures over the entrances in front of Centre Point.

I wrote about the first in Tottenham Court Road Station Gains A Giant Fosterito. Here’s a picture taken soon after one opened.

It is such a simple idea, I wonder why we don’t see more fosteritos all over the world.



January 17, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 7 Comments

The Western Arcade At London Bridge Station

These pictures show the Western Arcade at London Bridge station, which opened after Christmas.

The Arcade connects the spacious double concourse under the tracks of the National Rail station with the Underground station.

All it needs now, is for the shops to be occupied.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

London Bridge Station Gets The Last Five New Platforms

The last five platforms, numbered 1 to 5, at London Bridge station, opened this morning.

It is now possible to judge the station as a whole.

The Spacious Concourse

In my experience, the layout of the spacious concourse is unique in all the stations I have visited. And I’ve visited quite a few! And not just in the UK, but all over Europe.

Effectively, it is like a city square, with separate stations on viaducts above.

  • The one-platform station (Platform 1) for trains from Cannon Street to SE London and Kent.
  • The two-platform island station (Platforms 2 and 3) for trains from SE London and Kent to Cannon Street.
  • The two platform island station (Platform 4 and 5) for trains for Thameslink services going North and South,
  • The two-platform island station (Platform 6 and 7) for trains from Charing Cross and Waterloo East to SE London, Kent and Sussex
  • The two-platform island station (Platform 8 and 9) for trains from Waterloo East to SE London, Kent and Sussex to Charing-Cross and Waterloo.
  • The six-platform terminal station (Platforms 10-15) for trains to SE London, Surrey And Sussex.

All platforms have two or more escalators, stairs and a lift to and from the spacious concourse.

  • The circulation space is uncluttered with just one fast food outlet discretely to one side. Others will be slotted in.
  • The lighting is excellent, with lots of natural light. Many stations are dingy, despite having been built or rebuilt in the last few years.

Ticketing and security is ensured by several lines of ticket gates, leading to a surrounding unticketed concourse.

The Double-Concourse Design

|Effectively, London Bridge station has two concourses.

The ticketed concourse, that connects to all the platforms and the trains.

There is also a second concourse surrounding the ticketed concourse.

  • This second concourse extends through the station from Tooley Street to St. Thomas Street.
  • The streets outside the station are effectively parts of the second concourse.
  • Level walking routes to the Underground, the River, Guys Hospital and London Bridge are provided.
  • A separate escalator connection links to the bus station, from the second concourse.
  • There are more shops and a ticket office.

Where else could this concept be employed?

The obvious example is surely Manchester Piccadilly station, where there will effectively be three stations.

  • The HS2 station.
  • A terminal station for trains going to and from the South.
  • A two-platform through station capable of handling sixteen trains per hour, replacing the dreaded Platforms 13 and 14.

All would be linked by a huge London Bridge-sized area under the tracks, with both a ticketed and unticketed area.

  • The tram station would be at the same level as the concourse, accessible from the unticketed area.
  • Shops would be mainly in the unticketed area, with a minimum in the ticketed area.
  • A clutter-free design is needed.

The aim would be to ensure that quick and easy interchange between various transport modes was created.

The concept would also work at a rebuilt Euston and should probably have been used instead of the very passenger and staff-unfriendly design at St. Pancras, where interchange between separate services is not for those that are not 100% fit.

I also think that a similar concept of a split concourse, with ticketed and unticketed areas could be applied at a traditional terminal station like Brighton, Liverpool Street, Liverpool Lime Street or Waterloo, where significant numbers of passengers interchange between services at the station.

  • A second ticketed concourse could be created between the gate line and the actual platforms.
  • The concourse outside the ticket gates should be extended into the surrounding streets, as it effectively has been at Kings Cross.
  • A lot of decluttering should go on.

Hopefully, as each new station is designed, the concept will be improved.

Wide Island Platforms

Can platforms be too wide? Probably only accountants can answer that question.

But we certainly need more island platforms!

They make it so easy for passengers to reverse direction, without going up onto a bridge or down into a subway.

If say you were going between Bedford and Cambridge on Thameslink, perhaps with a heavy case or in a wheel-chair, it might  be easier to go as far South as London Bridge station, where you could just cross the platform for the second train.

Unfortunately, no-one thought to build the important Thameslink station at St. Pancras with an island platform.

Lights Above The Ticket Gates

The lights on some of London’s ticket gates are difficult to see, as you approach, but these are so much better.

Surely, as people will line up a few metres away and walk straight towards the gate, this might increase passenger throughput.

Can we have more of this please?

Information Above The Escalators And Stairs

This is good, but it could be better.

Imagine a one-line display on top of the main display, which could be used for title, important or emergency information.

Examples could be.

  • Trains To Waterloo East And Charing Cross
  • Way Out!
  • Do Not Enter!!
  • RMT Call Off Strike Tomorrow!

The standard display for the various platforms at London Bridge could be.

Platform 1 – Cannon Street To SE London And Kent

Platform 2 and 3 – To Cannon Street

Platforms 4 and 5 – Thameslink – 4 To South – 5 To North

Platform 6 and 7 – Charing Cross To SE London, Kent And Sussex

Platforms 8 and 9 – To Waterloo East And Charing Cross

Platforms 10 to 15 – To SE London, Surrey And Sussex

Ticket Machines

There are no ticket machines in the ticketed area.

In Germany, there is often a ticket machine after you have passed the gate.

I find it very useful, as they can be used to buy tickets for a later journey or look up future connections.

I only know of one ticket machine inside the ticketed area in the UK and that is on Platform 8 at Stratford station.

We need more of these!

The need will get more urgent after Crossrail and Thameslink are fully open.

Suppose you are doing a journey from somewhere in the Oyster/contactless card area like Ealing Broadway or Ilford to perhaps Hastings, Ipswich or Oxford, which are not.

  • You might not be starting your journey at a station with a ticket office.
  • Because you never go outside the Oyster/contactless card area, you haven’t bought a ticket in some time.
  • You might like me be a Freedom Pass holder.

So you might arrive at London Bridge or Stratford, without a valid ticket for the rest of your journey.

Currently, at London Bridge station, you have to go outside the ticketed area to get your onward ticket.

A ticket machine or machines inside the ticketed area would be better.

It could also.

  • Provide information.
  • Print intineraries
  • Display advertising.

Perhaps, like cash machines, ticket machines might be provided by third-party operators?


Are there enough seats?

Time will tell! But I think more will be added!






January 2, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments