diamond geezer

 Friday, May 21, 2004

Silver Jubilee: Westminster
Opened: Thursday 24th December 1868
Jubilee line platforms opened: Tuesday 22nd December 1999 (the newest platforms on the Underground network)
Distance from previous station: 1.3 km
Platform (eastbound): exit to the left of the train
Platform (westbound): exit to the right of the train
Change here for: District and Circle lines
Station originally called: Westminster Bridge
Fact file: Rebuilding Westminster station to accommodate the Jubilee line was an engineering nightmare, restricted by the close proximity of the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. Great care had to be taken to prevent Big Ben from toppling (the solution involved meticulous injections of liquid cement and 'compensation grouting'). The District line platforms had to be lowered by half a metre, beneath those went the eastbound Jubilee tunnel, and beneath that the westbound tunnel. A deep narrow cavern was excavated 32 metres downwards beneath Portcullis House, filled with interlocking escalators, concrete struts and concourses. It's quite magnificent, like a giant grey game of snakes and ladders.
This is my station: I descend three levels down from the District line into the bowels of the earth every morning, but ascend back only two levels in the evening. And yes, I never fail to be impressed by the stunning architecture as I pass through.
5 things I found outside this station: Big Ben (OK, St Stephen's Tower), the Houses of Parliament, Portcullis House, the River Thames, tight security.
Nearby: Westminster Abbey, Westminster Hall, Whitehall, the Cenotaph, democracy (apparently).
Local history: No no no, national history.


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