The Anonymous Widower

Pedestrian Tunnels In London’s Transport System

I take particular interest in pedestrian tunnels, as I believe properly designed tunnels can be a solution to improving access to stations.

This list will be extended as I photograph more.

Bank – Bank And Monument Escalator Connection

I still think of this tunnel, as an escalator connection, as that was how it was marked on the tube map in the 1950s.

It is two escalators down a walk between the Docklands Light Railway platforms and then two escalators up at the other end.

Verdict – The connection is being upgraded.

Bank- Central To Northern Interchange Tunnel

This is the shortest way from the Central Line to the Northern Line.

It does involve a descent of a circular staircase.

When the Bank station upgrade is complete this route will be replaced by an escalator connection between the two lines.

This visualisation shows the connecting escalators.

Note.

  1. The two wide highest level tunnels are the Central Line.
  2. The infamous curved Central Line platforms,create a large gap to mind.
  3. The two mid-level crossed tunnels are the existing Bank and Monument Escalator Connection and the Waterloo & City Tunnel.
  4. The four narrower lowest level tunnels are from bottom to top; the Southbound Northern Line, a new tunnel with a travelator; the old Southbound Northern Line tunnel and the Northbound Northern Line tunnel.
  5. The old Southbound Northern Line tunnel will become a passenger walkway.

Poking through all this spaghetti are the three escalators connecting the Central Line level with the Northern Line level.

Verdict – This connection will become much better.

Bank – Waterloo & City Inclined Travelator

The inclined travelators that link the Waterloo & City Line platforms and the main station entrances around Bank junction, are unique on the London Underground.

There are other travelators, but no others are inclined.

Verdict – I wonder why there are no others, as this pair seem to work very well.

Bank – Waterloo & City Tunnel

This tunnel connects the Waterloo & City Line platforms at Bank station to the central tunnel at Bank station.

Verdict – It is a linear oasis in an otherwise dingy and cramped station.

Bond Street – Northern Entrance Tunnel

This new tunnel connects the new Northern entrance at Bond Street station to the platforms.

Incidentally, I’d arrived at Bond Street station through the main entrance and it was an awfully overcrowded scrum. The Northern entrance was quiet, as the pictures show.

The entrance is steps or a lift between the street and its own gate line and then a well-lit wide passage to the escalators.

In future, it will link to a wide tunnel to the Western end of the Crossrail platforms at the station.

It is much better way to enter Bond Street station.

Verdict – London and other cities with underground railways, need more new station entrances like this.

Green Park – Interchange Tunnel

This tunnel connects the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines at Green Park station.

The opening dates of the three lines, through the station were.

  • Piccadilly Line – 1906 – Modernised in the 1930s with escalators.
  • Victoria Line – 1969
  • Jubilee Line – 1979

Since 1979 the station has been continually improved and is step-free.

This map from carto.metre.free.fr shows the lines at Green Park station.

Note that the Jubilee Line is below the other lines and when the extension was built, it was a radical change to what was originally planned. The lines to the right lead to Charing Cross station and those going South to Westminster station.

The interchange tunnel is long and usually very crowded. I had an incident recently, where I was walking slowly to the Victoria Line and a group of tourists all with four-wheeled cases, were nudging me to go faster. When we all got to the steps at the end, there was an enforced slow down.

Verdict – I avoid interchanging at Green Park like the plague.

Kings Cross – Eastern Tunnel

This tunnel runs which used to be part of the access to the old Kings Cross Thameslink station, runs from East of Kings Cross station and then has access to the main tunnel connecting the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.

It has partial escalator access at the Eastern end, where the buses from Islington and the East stop outside the old station entrance. Although getting buses to the East mens crossing the busy Pentonville Road.

Verdict – Needs improvement

Kings Cross – Interchange Tunnel

This tunnel connects the Eastern Tunnel at Kings Cross to the escalators and lifts that lead to the Northern ticket hall Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station. On the way is connects to the Victoria, Piccadilly and Northern Lines.

It is a long walk, especially, if you have accessed it, as I often do, from the Eastern Tunnel which is convenient for buses from Islington and Dalston.

Verdict – Too long and boring

Kings Cross – St. Pancras Tunnel

This tunnel connects St. Pancras station to the Northern ticket hall at Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station.

It is a wide, comfortable tunnel with a double handrail down the middle.

Note that the middle picture shows the connection to the next tunnel.

Verdict – Useful and a better walk than the surface alternative in cold or wet weather.

Kings Cross – Pancras Square Tunnel

This tunnel connects St. Pancras Square to the underground tunnel, that links St. Pancras station to the Northern ticket hall of Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station.

It is a good example of how to create a tunnel.

It has up and down escalators at the St. Pancras Square entrance.

Verdict – Good design and a pleasant walk.

Knightsbridge – Northern Exit Tunnel

This tunnel at Knightsbridge station was built in 2010 to connect the new entrance on the North side of Knightsbridge.

It looks to me that Transport for London had to make do with less space than they needed.

Verdict – Rather narrow and utilitarian.

Paddington – Bakerloo Line Link

This project to create a pedestrian link between the Bakerloo Line and Crossrail at Paddington is currently being built.

  • It will be one hundred and thirty metres long.
  • It will be twenty-five metres below the Paddington station concourse.
  • The design uses a route to avoid existing station facilities.
  • The tunnel is being built without major disruption to Bakerloo Line passengers.
  • It will have lifts and escalators at both ends.
  • The tunnel will handle five thousand passengers per hour in the Peak.

In August 2016, I wrote Paddington Is Operational Again, which describes the tunnel in detail.

Verdict – I have a feeling that this could be one of the most impressive parts of Crossrail.

I can’t wait for this tunnel to open.

South Kensington – Exhibition Road Pedestrian Tunnel

The Exhibition Road Pedestrian Tunnel at South Kensington station is unique in London, as it was built in 1885 and it is Grade II Listed.

As the pictures show, it can get very busy.

Verdict – A Victorian idea, that hasn’t been copied much.

Tottenham Court Road – Interchange Tunnel

This tunnel connect the Central and Northern Lines at Tottenham Court Road station.

It is a bit lacking in colour to my liking. But at least there is some of Eduardo palotzi’s tiles at one end.

Verdict – Bland and too long.

Victoria – New Tunnels

Victoria station has had a new entrance at Cardinal Place and a lot of new tunnels to sort out the poor connectivity, added in the last couple of years.

As the pictures show, not all the tunnels are finished.

Verdict – Victoria is no longer a station yo avoid

Waterloo – Interchange Travelator

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Underground lines at Waterloo station.

Note the large separation of the platforms of the Jubilee Line and those of the Bakerloo and Northern Lines.

The solution was to install a travelator, when the Jubilee Line Extension was built.

Although expense wasn’t spared on the project, I think we would give it a more decorative lining today.

Verdict – It works.

Whitechapel – Refurbished Overground Staircases

There are two staircases between the District/Hammersmith & City Lines and the East London Line, that are being refurbished for Crossrail.

It looks like the work is of a high quality and that the old rails have not been replaced.

Verdict – These were scruffy tunnels a couple of years ago.

Summing Up

Some tunnels are obviously better than others, but what surprised me, was how well the Exhibition Rpad Tunnel to the museums coped with large numbers of passengers.

Perhaps, the Victorians got it right, as some of the best tunnels in my examples are the wider ones.

Comparing the Northern Exit Tunnel at Knightsbridge with the Northern Entrance Tunnel at Bond Street, shows how a wide tunnel and entrance, built with a lift, is a much better solution, than a narrow tunnel and entrance, without a lift.

The only narrow tunnel, that seems to work well is the tunnel connecting the Waterloo & City Line to the main Bank station complex.

But this tunnel is well-lit and I suspect tends to have passengers going the same way most of the time.

It also appears that recent tunnels like those at Bond Street and Victoria, are much better than those built about ten years ago, like the tunnel at Knightsbridge.

The Future

After Crossrail, London has a number of large station projects in the pipeline, some of which will require new connecting tunnels for passengers.

  • The upgrading of Bank station is underway, where tunnels are being dug and escalators, travelators and lifts and being installed.
  • The upgrading of Knightsbridge station is underway, but this will be simpler and I don’t think the upgrade includes more tunnels.
  • The upgrading of Camden Town, Holborn and Walthamstow stations are in the planning stage. All will probably involve creating a new entrance connected to the existing platforms with lifts and escalators, but no long tunnels.
  • Oxford Circus station is likely to be the subject of a major upgrade.
  • Euston and Euston Square stations are being upgraded for the arrival of High Speed Two and there will be new tunnels to dig, between the two stations.

There are also possible new lines to consider, which may or may not be built.

  • Bakerloo Line Extension
  • Crossrail 2
  • Docklands Light Railway to Thamesmead
  • Docklands Light Railway to Euston, St. Pancras and Victoria.

All will be built with lots of entrances and exits, and interchanges with existing lines, so it is likely, there will be quite a few connecting tunnels.

Conclusion

I think that three tunnel projects will define a lot of the thinking about pedestrian access in the future.

  • The Northern Entrance Tunnel at Bond Street, which surfaces in a commercial development.
  • The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link, which appears to be setting new standards of design and construction.
  • The narrow well-lit tunnel at Bank.

Could we see lessons learned with these newly-built tunnels applied to projects like Oxford Circus and Euston stations?

 

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Piazzas And Public Space Next To Historic Stephenson’s Bridge And Beneath Ordsall Chord Could Open ‘This Winter’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Manchester Evening News.

This is the first paragraph.

It had been feared the space would remain closed for years – but Salford Council say they will make sure it opens as soon as they take ownership.

It is good news for those like me, who like interesting city walks.

It is also time for Network Rail and Lewisham and Southwark Councils to sort out what is to happen around London’s new rail structure; the Bermondsey Dive-Under.

This article on the Landscape Institute web site from 2017, is entitled New Railway Junction Gets Top Marks For Biodiversity., describes how the work at Bermondsey has won an award. This is said.

The project involved removal of 21,900 tonnes of contaminated material and eradicated the Japanese knotweed. To increase biodiversity, wildflower planting and green walls were installed to offset vegetation lost in the process of removing the contaminated soils. The project includes 765m2 of green walls under arches and access ramps, and the planting of wildflowers on the railway embankments to create green corridors and stepping stones to the wider area. The team also carried out extensive community engagement, including upgrading the garden in the Lewisham Community Centre.

I think there should be a public walking route through this area.

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Aren’t There More Street Signs Like This?

I took these pictures in Walthamstow Village.

It is such a simple idea to put direction indicators on the street name signs.

But I’ve never seen it anywhere else before.

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Edinburgh’s Missing Link

In Edinburgh, I’ve walked in an Easterly direction, several times through Princes Street Gardens, with the final intention of taking a train from Edinburgh station.

But as the pictures show, there’s no way through.

You have to walk up to the road, fight your way across a pedestrian crossing and then walk down a ramp into the station.

Why isn’t there a pedestrian tunnel?

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Through London’s First Pedestrian And Cycle Zone

I took these pictures as I walked through London’s first Pedestrian and Cycle Zone, wher only electric vehicles and some hybrids are allowed.

I like the idea, although quite a few diesel and petrol cars and vans seem to have been ignoring the signs.

I was even interviewed by television. But it was Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão, so I doubt I’ll find it on the iPlayer.

Will subtitles make me look better?

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking The Crossrail Route Between Farringdon And Moorgate Stations

I took these pictures on the route between Farringdon and Moorgate stations via Barbican station.

Note.

  • The massive amount of new development along the route.
  • The new site for the Museum of London.
  • Smithfield Market, which surely will be developed or refurbished.
  • The large amount of housing in the Barbican Estate.
  • The new office developments surrounding Moorgate station.

To me, one of the most interesting developments, is the creation of new walkways across the Barbican Estate and through the new office developments to link Batrbican and Moorgate stations to London Wall and walking routes going towards St. Pauls, Bank and the River.

Crossrail will serve the City indirectly using a modicum of walking in at a pleasant height away from the traffic.

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

King’s Lynn

I went to King’s Lynn today, because I had written about the Fen Line and I’d never been there before.

Note the references to George Vancouver.

I wonder how many Canadians visit! After all it only cost me about twenty pounds with a railcard to come up from Kings Cross.

The weather could have been better! But I can remember a day, when we took the dogs to North Norfolk for a walk,  on a sunny day. Celia was wearing a summer dress over a bikini, but by the time we got to the beach, it was so dreich, we went straight back home. That’s North Norfolk for you!

April 11, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Bordesley Station To St. Andrews Has Improved

At various times on this blog, I’ve complained about this route, but it’s finally got better, as these pictures show.

Bordesley station is really only opened for the football, so I suspect that a lift would very much be a low priority.

I have a feeling that it might be possible to walk along the canals from the City Centre, to the lock that I saw.

March 31, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Access To The Western End Of The Camden High Line

I took between Camden Road and Camden Town stations on Sunday.

I was investigating two questions.

  • How would you provide access to the Western end of the Camden High Line?
  • How would you improve interchange between the North London Line and Northern Line stations?

These are some of the pictures that I took.

I can see a few strengths and problems.

Architectural Quality

Camden Gardens has several Listed buildings, but the viaduct appears not to be Listed.

The brick viaduct is a substantial one and like most of this type of structure in the UK, Network Rail seem to keep it in good condition.

You have to remember that there was a derailment on the bridge, which I wrote about in Fall Out From A Train Crash. So I suspect, it has had a detailed check-up since.

The only eyesore is the steel bridge over Camden Street. But Network Rail have ways of making them look better. A good coat of paint would help.

Camden Gardens

To my mind, Camden Gardens needs development. Not in any negative sense, but it is surrounded by pedestrian traffic generators.

  • Camden Road station to the East
  • The Regents Canal to the South
  • Camden Town station to the South, which will have a new step-free Northern entrance, about a hundred metres from the Gardens.
  • |A large mixed development on the other side of Kentish Town Road.
  • It is on the direct route between Camden Road station and the tourist attractions around Camden Lock.

It could be developed into a convenient oasis for those walking in the area.

Perhaps there needs to be a cafe in one of the arches.

Camden Interchange

In Boris Johnson’s Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, the Appendix mentioned that there will be an interchange between Camden Town and Camden Road stations. Unfortunately, a copy of the report is not available on the Internet.

But it can’t be deleted from my memory.

I feel strongly, that as after the expansion of Camden Town station, the two stations will be physically closer, that a Western entrance to Camden Road station, should be built, if the sums added up.

Consider.

  • It would create a convenient interchange between the two rail services.
  • It would improve access from Camden Lock and the new developments on the North side of the Regent’s Canal.

But it could also create access to the Camden High Line.

The Height Of The Viaduct

The viaduct is high, as the last-but-one picture in the gallery shows.

Because of the railway tracks, between the two platforms, which means the only way to cross is to walk to the other end of the platforms and go down and up again, design of affordable and practical access, will be challenging.

A Station Entrance On The Camden High Line

The first picture in the gallery, shows the shrubbery on the two disused tracks, that could become the Camden High Line, behind a fence.

It would surely be possible to create a ticket gate in a small building on the wide platform.

Conclusion

With clever design it would be possible to provide access to the Camden High Line and the station in a single development.

 

 

 

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Walking Around Sunderland

I took these pictures as I walked around Sunderland.

There is a lot of potential for improvement.

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments