101/270: #LatimerRoad – The Lost

Latimer Road serves a sort of cul-de-sac of North Kensington and is another prime example, certainly in name at least, of how infrastructure can severe communities. To the north and west the community is boxed in by Westway and the West Cross Route to such an extent that the station’s namesake is a good half mile detour underneath the expressways. Of course it didn’t used to be this way, Latimer Road would have once ran much further south, terminating on the western side of the station. The road was erased from the map in the 60’s with the construction of the West Cross Route. Had the road continued to the north as planned, it’s likely Latimer Road would have disappeared in its entirety.

This gets us wondering how many examples there are of tube stations who’s namesakes – streets, pubs, areas – no longer exist. We’ll get you started with Elephant & Castle…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

100/270: #LadbrokeGrove – The Step

You may notice a rather gargantuan step down onto the train as you board at Ladbroke Grove. Steps up, at stations served by the S-Stock at least, are not uncommon – especially at platforms with a transitional height between tube stock and sub surface stock such as Hammersmith (066) or Turnham Green (063). Stepping down onto an S-Stock however must mean the platform here is unusually high. Perhaps a hangover (a really long hangover, the type you’d get after a three day bender) from main line rolling stock days? Answers on a postcard below…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

099/270: #WestbournePark – The Westway

Victorian Westbourne Park with its ornate canopies of an illustrious yet reserved design sits in the wake of the brash, noisy viaduct carrying the A40 Westway out of town. The fumes and never ending drone of the traffic breaths down on this part of town in an all consuming way, defining the area. Separated by 100 years, there’s not a more polarising illustration of two transport design mediums than here. In the 1960’s Westway blasted through the suburbs, a concrete monstrosity that opened up Londoner’s eyes to what a city of motorways might look like. The pleasing somewhat quaint brick and wood structures of the Underground with its quiet electric trains must look effortlessly appealing in comparison.

Yet we must remember that most of our Victorian railways arrived in exactly same way. Brazen monolithic viaducts carrying thundering machines of fire and ash, pile driven through slum communities, without a care for the resultant destruction and disruption to life that they caused. We may look at Westway here, the Eastcross route in Hackney, the North Circular in Woodford or Aspen Way in Poplar as blights on the local landscape, killing kittens with their pollution and dirt, but our Victorian cousins would have once thought much the same of the railways we now hold in much higher esteem.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

098/270: #RoyalOak – The Vantage Point

Racing the HST’s out of Paddington (Hammersmith & City and Circle) (097), the S-Stock’s first port of call is Royal Oak. From the outside, a dilapidated single story facade fronts a grotty bridge and you’d be forgiven for thinking this station was down on it’s luck, hardly worth of carrying it’s Royal title. But one mans garbage is another mans gold, and standing by the eastern end of the platforms gives one an unrivalled view of the complex throat of Paddington main line station. To the left Crossrail portals begin to take shape underneath the shadow of Westway whose slip roads criss-cross our vantage point on enormous single span girder bridges. This might not be pretty but it’s infrastructure heaven.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index

097/270: #Paddington (Hammersmith & City and Circle) – The Canal

If you’re travelling to Paddington from East London it’s probably best to direct yourself to the other Paddington (055) tube station (yes there are two, yes they are separate, yes I’ll talk more about this when I get to one of the Edgware Road’s). For ease of plonking you on the concourse of the mainline station or anywhere near Praed St you really want to use the District, Circle and Bakerloo line station of which we’ve already visited. As functional and efficient as this is it’s not quite as interesting as the Hammersmith & City and Cirlce* flavour of Paddington, nestled away at the back of the mainline station alongside Brunel’s glorious glass roof.

If watching the Great West Mainline trains isn’t your thing from the panorama at the end of the platform (and if you’re reading this blog, I’m surprised it isn’t), then pop upstairs to this stations side exit. Instead of stepping out onto any other mundane roadway, you’ll instead be greeted by Paddington Basin, a short cul de sac of waterway off the Regent’s Canal. Turn left and follow the pathway under Westway and you’ll soon be in picturesque Little Venice, with little to remind you of the hustle and bustle of the mainline terminus you just left behind.

*Circle Line trains serve both Paddington stations post 2009. This I find extremely irritating and unhelpful. TfL would do well to rename this station Paddington North to help funnel unsuspecting tourists in the right direction and to stop them walking a mile if they catch the wrong train…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

Station Index