diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 14, 2024

In May 2004 I wrote a month-long series called Silver Jubilee to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jubilee line. I believe in playing the long game, so today I'm reviving the feature to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jubilee line extension.

The Jubilee line extension opened in six incremental stages as engineers battled against the immovable deadline of Millennium Eve. The first section to open was North Greenwich to Stratford on Friday 14th May 1999, a fact commemorated on plaques at three of the four stations if you know where to look.

So here's what I wrote about the first four extension stations in 2004, when they were just five years old, in each case followed by an updated version. The first in each pair of photos is from 2004, the second from 2024. More photos here. If you want to read about all 28 Jubilee line stations (complete with hundreds of links that no longer work) the original Silver Jubilee posts are here.

Silver Jubilee: North Greenwich

Opened: Friday 14th May 1999
Distance from previous station: 1.7 km (beneath the River Thames)
You are now entering: the London Borough of Greenwich, zone 3
Fact file: North Greenwich station is even bigger than Canary Wharf station but serves a local population of virtually zero. The station contains over 150000 tonnes of reinforced concrete and is sort of purple-themed. There are three platforms here rather than the usual two, just in case anyone ever wants to build a new branch line out to Beckton and the Royal Docks.
5 things I found outside this station: a carelessly-discarded Dome, WH Smiths, a bus station in the middle of nowhere, a 1000-space car park, Group 4 security.
Nearby: Millennium Dome, Millennium Way, Millennium Village, Millennium Quay, Millennium Sainsburys, big fat Millennium zero.
Nearby, but a 5 minutes detour by road: the Blackwall tunnel.
Not nearby enough: Greenwich, civilisation.

No longer true in 2024: North Greenwich is no longer the middle of nowhere. The local population is now many thousands. The Dome got rebranded by a phone company and now hosts massive gigs. The eco-tastic Millennium Sainsburys was demolished before its 20th birthday.
Now change here for: Dangleway

Platforms: Long and deep, much the same as ever. Still under-escalatored. Nothing else on the Underground feels like it.
Concourse: Unnervingly long, with one busy end and one eerie end that's always taped off. Temporary central barriers now seem permanent. Always an in/out clash as streams cross and merge, attempting to keep right. Spacious, but that space hasn't been used particularly practically.
Ticket Hall: Occasional whiff of hot sausage rolls thanks to branch of Greggs (opened 2021). Full history of station displayed on window of former ticket office. The inevitable Pret. Lengthy whiteboard odes courtesy of @allontheboard, sometimes very out of date and facing backwards. Intermittent hordes of provincial gig-goers.
5 things I found outside this station: Branded aerial cabin, arrows to nudge punters towards the Dangleway, little stalls selling cupcakes and coffee, plaque commemorating the opening of North Greenwich Transport Interchange by a minor MP on 18th May 1999, the only bus station information kiosk in London still displaying rack of leaflets explaining 'How to make a simple face covering'.
Nearby: Opportunities to eat and drink, adverts for brands, flat-flogging sales office, tiny insta-friendly art gallery, taxi drivers who only go south of the river, massive mouth of a not-quite finished road tunnel, more opportunities to eat and drink, the tip of a still unfinished neighbourhood.

Silver Jubilee: Canning Town

Opened: Monday 14th June 1847
Jubilee platforms opened: Friday 14th May 1999
Distance from previous station: 1.7 km (beneath the River Thames again)
You are now entering: the London Borough of Newham
Change here for: Docklands Light Railway and North London line
Fact file: This is a double decker station, with the DLR platforms directly above the Jubilee line platforms. The eastbound DLR runs directly above the westbound Jubilee, but in the same actual direction.
5 things I found outside this station: a big flyover on the A13, an MFI superstore, a teeming bus station, Purvi newsagents, a large stone memorial commemorating the nearby Thames Ironworks (HMS Warrior was built here in 1860).
Nearby: Bow Creek, Leamouth, Trinity Buoy Wharf (London's only lighthouse).

No longer true in 2024: The MFI superstore has become phase 1 of 'Manor Road Quarter', a 32 storey residential tower. The bus station is seemingly permanently propped up by obstructive temporary scaffolding. Newsagents are no longer a thing hereabouts. Now borderline zone 2/3.
Now also change here for: DLR to Woolwich or Stratford International from the former North London line platforms.

Platforms: Much the same as ever. Roundels now have pigeon spikes on top. Enormous blue vinyls confirm that these are platforms 5 and 6.
Concourse: Annoying one-way system because the original design overwhelmed the escalators. Someone on the staff likes drawing full-colour manga.
Ticket Hall: Costa (for anyone who's somehow missed the oversupply of coffee shops outside). Dangleway ads in place of ticket office. New exit to Bow Creek (already in place in 2004 but not yet open).
5 things I found outside this station: A bus drivers' mess room, a mess of a bus station, a bus map dated 28th October 2010, an intrusive new cycleway, a new residential neighbourhood anyone you'd met in 2004 would have laughed at the idea of.
Nearby: Towers towers towers, flats flats flats, streets of pure capitalism named after suffragettes, millennials grazing, unscenic tidal mud, City Hall.

Silver Jubilee: West Ham

Opened: Monday 16th October 1854
Jubilee platforms opened: Friday 14th May 1999
Distance from previous station: 1.6 km
Change here for: District, Hammersmith & City, c2c and North London lines
Fact file: West Ham station is 1½ miles from West Ham football ground which must fool a lot of away supporters. You want Upton Park instead.
5 things I found outside this station: Ibstock bricks and small glass squares, Costcutter Express, a mini-roundabout, Memorial Avenue, a chippy under new management (shame).
Nearby (eastward): a recreation ground, the East London Rugby Club, a few houses.
Nearby (westward): no houses, Bow Back Rivers, light industrial sprawl, Olympic Park 2012 (maybe), the site of the old Big Brother House.

No longer true in 2024: West Ham football ground is now only 1 mile away, relocated to the Olympic Stadium. Costcutter is now a Nisa. The chippy sells a lot more chicken than fish these days. The former gasworks site to the west of the station is about to be thousands of flats. Now borderline zone 2/3.
Now also change here for: DLR from the former North London line platforms.

Platforms: Much the same as ever. Part of the northbound platform is now overshadowed by scaffolding supporting new footbridge to adjacent development.
Concourse: Currently beset by a year-long one-way system with multiple notices screaming 'Turn left' (many of which point right). Currently afflicted by people ignoring the one-way system because it inconveniences them. New entrance emerging behind blue hoardings.
Ticket Hall: More people interchanging than exiting. Passive aggressive notice advising passengers there are no public toilets inside or outside the station (subtext - piss off).
5 things I found outside this station: BestMate (unexpectedly dropping by for a coffee), the ever-lovely Rial cafe, a dry cleaners that probably makes more money from selling vapes, a boarded-off staircase leading across the tracks towards the new TwelveTrees development, workman grouting the aforementioned staircase.
Nearby: Sales office for new development ("a flourishing new place to call home"), landmark towers, a lowly longstanding local neighbourhood that's about to be usurped.

Silver Jubilee: Stratford

Opened: Thursday 20th June 1839
Jubilee platforms opened: Friday 14th May 1999
Distance from previous station: 1.5 km
Change here for: Central line, Docklands Light Railway, North London line and One (somebody please sack the PR gibbon who thought that name up)
Change here soon for: Eurostar services to St Pancras and Paris, via the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
Fact file: Stratford station used to be a bit of a dump. But it was completely rebuilt between 1996 and 1999 and is now a bit of a stunner, although it's still a heck of a long walk out of the station from the Jubilee line platforms. Coming soon, just to the north, Stratford International.
5 things I found outside this station: Meridian Square, a big bus station, a steam engine called Robert, scores of people, my local shopping centre.
Nearby: Stratford Market train depot (formerly a fruit & veg market), the Cultural Quarter (Theatre Royal + Stratford Picturehouse + Stratford Circus).
Nearby (maybe): Olympic Park 2012

Transformed since 2004: Nowhere else in London has changed so much over the last 20 years. Westfield and the Olympics transformed Stratford's fortunes, opening up a whole new hinterland on the north side of the station.
No longer true in 2024: Less of a stunner than it once was due to congestion and overuse. Now borderline zone 2/3. Eurostar never bothered stopping.
Now also change here for: DLR from the former North London line platforms, Elizabeth line to Paddington, Overground to Willesden, Greater Anglia to Norwich and Tottenham Hale.

Platforms: Just the two now that platform 13 is hardly ever used (thus speeding up turnaround and reducing congestion). A mostly-obsolete footbridge. Dozens of passengers dashing to slip in through the back doors of a departing train.
Concourse: Petit Pret. Central stack of Evening Standards (afternoon peak only). Big analogue clock. Ridiculously tiny badly-positioned departure board. New station entrance from Carpenters Road estate nigh ready to open.
Ticket Hall: Still got a Smiths. Majority of ticket machines replaced by advert for Google contactless. Awkwardly intersecting flows of incoming and outgoing passengers.
5 things I found outside this station: Homeless sleeper under dirty duvet. Deano's Continental Foods (selling German sausage and Coffee's), permeable ring of protective bollards, attempts to hand out evangelical literature, relocated taxi rank.
Nearby: All the shops and then some, upthrusted towers, student hutches, glinting fishy scales attempting to hide a multi-storey car park, broken escalators to Westfield, cinemas for rich and poor, 2012's field of dreams.

Happy silver jubilee to the silvery Jubilee line extension.

(this feature will return in September)

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