diamond geezer

 Monday, March 25, 2013

CENTRAL: skipping down the line

The Bakerloo line is well spaced, with stations pretty much everywhere a station should be. Not so the Central. There are several gaps and missed connections, including at least one entirely skipped community. That's no conspiracy, it's just how the line was built, and there hasn't been either the will or the money to make significant changes since. Here are ten places the Central line could stop but doesn't.

East Ickenham: We've discussed this one already. There'll never be a station where the Central crosses the Metropolitan, because the intersection is too close to West Ruislip. There might be a linking curve one day, but not until the signalling on both lines is compatible, and that's nowhere near. [map]

Park Royal: Here's the next missed interchange with the Piccadilly line. The Central line ducks beneath near Park Royal station, so close that if the platforms had run north rather than south they'd almost have joined up. But although a new connection would be ideally placed for Diageo HQ, it wouldn't be great for anyone who lives round here, and the more convenient station on the Hanger Lane roundabout would probably have to close. [map]

North Ealing: And yet another Piccadilly miss, this time on the Central's brief Ealing spur. Changing to the District line is easy, a brief wander to adjacent platforms at Ealing Broadway. But changing to the Piccadilly involves a three-line shuffle for anyone relying on a tube map, or a walk from West Acton for those with a better grounding in local reality. That makes three non-connections with the same line across West London, all doable on foot, but it seems remiss that 1930s planners failed to realise how useful a Piccadilly/Central liaison would be. [map]

Wood Lane: Here's a lost opportunity that could have been planned better, not that anyone would have known at the time. In 1908 the Central line was extended from Shepherd's Bush to Wood Lane to serve the Franco-British Exhibition and the Olympic Games. The new station was an awkward single-track affair on a sharp curve, improved with straighter platforms in 1920 when the line pushed on to Ealing. Wood Lane (Central line) closed in 1947 when neighbouring White City was opened instead, although the station buildings weren't demolished until 2003 when Westfield was at the planning stage. Then in 2008 a new Wood Lane station appeared on the Hammersmith & City line, on the opposite side of the road to where a previous Wood Lane station had closed in 1959. If you're not following this, sorry, there's a detailed history here, here and here. But the upshot is a mega Wood Lane interchange never happened, just a "walk along the street" link, which is easy but definitely sub-optimal. [map]

British Museum: How useful it would be to have a Central line station very close to London's most popular tourist attraction. And when the line opened in 1900 there was one, a station called British Museum on the corner of High Holborn and Bloomsbury Court. Again the Piccadilly line caused the problem here, because six years later they opened a different non-interchange station on Kingsway. That was much better placed for road and tram connections, so in 1933 the Central line admitted defeat and opened new platforms at Holborn station instead. Up until 1989 the surface buildings at 'British Museum' remained, and you could buy photographic equipment and horseriding gear from the former ticket hall. No longer. Everything above ground has been demolished, and a Nationwide Building Society office (next to My Old Dutch) now covers the site. Below ground the platforms have been bricked up and provide little more than a useful space to store sleepers, but they're sort-of glimpsable if you know when to look. [map]

City Thameslink: A slightly longer than usual gap exists between Chancery Lane and St Paul's where the Central line ducks beneath the valley of the Fleet. Partway along is City Thameslink, the only station inside the Circle line not to get a mention on the tube map. It's almost a ghost station outside peak hours, but is about to get much more important from 2018 when Thameslink is upgraded. Blackfriars is already an important interchange, and Farringdon will become a mega-hub once Crossrail opens, whereas City Thameslink looks doomed to become an annoying halt in the middle because the Central line doesn't stop. [map]

Shoreditch High Street: This is possibly the biggest missed opportunity of all. The Central line runs directly underneath the Overground station which opened three years ago, and yet nobody's made any attempt at all to join the two. No convenient connection exists between Overground above and Central below, none at all... and that's deliberate. The Central line is plenty busy enough at peak times without linking it to other lines and making the overcrowding worse. Crossrail should make a big difference in 2019, relieving the Central of its worst cattle-truck conditions, after which a Shoreditch interchange could safely be built. But don't count on it, London's skint, so network perfection will have to wait. [map]

Roman Road: This one hurts. If the Central line ran straight from Bethnal Green to Stratford it'd pass under Roman Road, through the heart of Bow. But it doesn't, it diverts significantly south to meet the District line at Mile End. Strategically that's the right decision, providing an invaluable connection that improves millions of journeys each year. But for those living in the northern half of E3 the Central line's non-appearance makes the area that bit less accessible, that bit less desirable, that bit less prosperous. In a parallel universe Roman Road Market is popular and Victoria Park is a convenient day out, but instead the Central line runs parallel and Bow misses out. [map]

Pudding Mill Lane: When the Central line punched east from Liverpool Street the planners decided it should be an express railway, so it skips through Tower Hamlets pausing only twice. The longest gap of almost two miles is between Mile End and Stratford - great for those who live in Essex but less good for those of us (raises hand) who live inbetween. In particular the Central line scores a direct hit on Pudding Mill Lane station but doesn't stop, because PML came second, and because nobody could have predicted the Olympics would take place alongside. Instead Stratford has become the megahub, and if you want to visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or go to West Ham's first home match in 2016 then you'll need to divert via there. [map]

Leytonstone High Road: The final railway that could interchange with the Central line but doesn't is the Overground. That's the Gospel Oak to Barking line, the poor relation of the orange network, which somehow manages to miss almost every single possible connection from end to end. Here in Leytonstone a half mile walk is required, which isn't endearing to the casual traveller, but that's what happens when a rail network evolves rather than being planned. Central maybe, but not always convenient. [map]

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this month?
28 Jan – 23 Apr (10am-4.30pm)
Sussex Modernism
The sixth annual exhibition at Two Temple Place focuses on radical art/writing in Sussex, and is damned excellent.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Feb17  Jan17
Dec16 Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards