096/270: #Snaresbrook – The Fictitious

Snaresbrook is one of those place names that doesn’t really exist. The suburbs of South Woodford and Wanstead blend seamlessly into one another with the station here serving the western end of the latter’s high street. Type Snaresbrook into Google and gives you either the nearby crown court or a lazily estimated pin drop on a housing estate just off of Woodford High Road. Snaresbrook: It’s Just A Figment Of Your Imagination.

The station which opened in 1856 still retains its original station building and is the oldest on the network to do so (don’t forget how many times we’ve debated what constitutes oldest…), an accolade it shares with Woodford.* It first carried the name Snaresbrook & Wanstead, a far more appropriate moniker, but these were the days before actual Wanstead station was a thing. It’s a glorious example of an Eastern Counties Railway station and it predates TfL, and London Transport, and British Rail, and the LNER, and the GER quite considerably! I particularly love the numerous cubby-hole type entrances underneath the bridge on Wanstead High Street.

Well done Snaresbrook, for a place name lost in history, you’ve done rather well.

*Though the example at Woodford has seen a more modern style reception bolted onto the front.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

095/270: #Gunnersbury – The Car Park

After the idyllic state of Kew Gardens (094), Gunnersbury provides a sharp contrast. Flanked on both sides by a multistory car park, this station has an almost Orwellian dystopia quality about it. This is especially true given the tall non-descript Big Brother like office block that towers over the ‘facility’.

Weirdly on a sunny day like this, the brutalist shapes and jagged edges of the structure on the Northbound side are casting interesting geometric patterns on the station below and somehow the decaying white concrete doesn’t seem all bad.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

094/270: #KewGardens – The Botanical

Straight into my list of Top 5 stations goes Kew Gardens, a stop I’d previously not alighted at. Everything about this station screams affluence and well-to-do suburbia. The well-kept flower arrangements on the platforms offering visitors a taste of things to come, the attached pub Tap On The Line with its vaulted conservatory roof, the idyllic village like community square outside in all its Victorian charm.

The only thing that ruins Kew Garden’s, and it’s rather wonderful cluster of surrounding independent shops, is the sheer number of cars in its vicinity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the assault on the senses that the A12 does to Bromley-By-Bow (093) but it does rather spoils the aesthetic of the near-perfect station-centered street.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

093/270: #BromleyByBow – The Temporary

There is a station underneath the tarpaulin and health and safety notices I promise. Bromley-By-Bow at platform level is a fairly mundane and uneventful District Line station down at track level, with the obligatory abandoned London, Tilbury & Southend Railway platforms (we’ll delve deeper into the world of LTSR and it’s influence on the District Line when we properly visit the Upminster Branch* later on this project) being one of the few interesting things to note about the station.

We’re on the cusp of The Docklands as we stand with our backs to the roar of the Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach Road. On the other side of the 6-lane A12 lies a handful of derelict office blocks surrounded by waste land. You get a feeling that regeneration has been slow on the uptake this far north of the Isle of Dogs. Having said that, the uptake is now starting to come, with a large housing development planned next to the station. As you can see the drab 1970’s ticket hall is shrouded in plastic, ready to be pulled down and upgraded. The whole place has a very temporary feel to it. This is somewhat fitting as I at some point managed to misplace the photo of the outside, so until I get the chance to go back and retake it (oh joy!), have a still from the Map Challenge vlog

*Somehow I still haven’t managed to do the Upminster branch. It was my intention to do this section first but I’m nearly half way through the challenge and still haven’t done it….

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

092/270: #Richmond – The D

I arrive at Richmond feeling like a cheat. I’m not really here to use the station at all, more to use the train that is arriving and departing from it. Richmond is merely a means-to-an-end, I’ve arrived on the last D-Stock to ever travel here, and therefore I shall be leaving on it too. I could quite happily not have crossed the gateline, but seeing as it was as good as any excuse to cross it off (and to make sure my oyster card didn’t time out) I thought I might as well.

Once beyond the barriers I didn’t even have much time to leave the confines of the ticket hall, sorry Richmond I’m sure you’re lovely outside, but I was still in the mists of getting some shots for my Last Train To Upminster video. Wait you mean you haven’t seen it?!…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index