075/270: #StepneyGreen – The Decay

The inviting Victorian facade of Stepney Green welcomes you in from the hubbub of the Mile End Road. Down below the picture is different. Rust riddled ironwork line the passageway walls and years of damp and water ingress have discolour the once white tiles, streaking them 50 shades of brown. Ancient signs poke their way through the grime and the odd vine routes its way into the brickwork. Yes Stepney Green seems to be in a permanent state of decay, but one that reminds me of the utopian ruins of the “Sanctuary” in Logan’s Run. Nature peacefully reclaiming our man-made structures. All it needs is some cats…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

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074/270: #Stratford – The Anxiety

Stratford. It’s actually quite an interesting place, historically speaking that is. Know where to look and you’ll come across abandoned bridge parapets, forgotten platforms, commanding modern architecture mixed in with a railway heritage that stretches back to 1839. It’s also a great place to spot a diverse range of rolling stock with the Olympic stadium looking on in the background. Class 90 MkIII sets speed through on their way to Norwich, 66’s lead container freight round to the North London line, tube and DLR intermingle on different levels and if you’re lucky you might spot the new Crossrail fleet on test.

But none of this matters compared to the unbridled evil that Stratford has come to personally represent.

Westfield.

Three levels of badly designed crowded commercialism looms over the northern exit of Stratford station filling me with a sense of anxiety and dread. Slow moving pushchairs dawdle their way through the unnecessarily warm aisles, sharing their space with confused bargain hunters and lost souls. Yet I still find myself drawn here for the sheer ease of convenience that it presents. Why. Why do I do it?!

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

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073/270: #FinsburyPark – The Heights

I’m here a little earlier than expected, but the gamble on skipping out Finsbury Park in Episode 1 of the Map Challenge Vlog has paid off, as I arrive to collect the station through natural means.

Starting from here it has become a bit of a tradition, all be it an odd one, to walk the Northern Heights in the early days of December. Cold and bleak it maybe, the pilgrimage to Alexandra Palace has turned into a marker event for the opening of the Christmas period and one I look forward to very much.

If you’ve not heard of the Northern Heights before, it’s arguably one of London’s best walks, albeit for railway enthusiasts at least. Taking you on the dismantled Great Northern Railway route from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace, the Parkland Walk takes you through the tranquil sights of North London, passed the abandoned Crouch End platforms in the middle of a forest and up onto the Muswell Hill viaduct which features commanding views of the city.

Though I was on my way to Alexandra Palace on this occasion it was not on foot, but I’ll be sure to be back here later in the year for that annual quest towards Highgate…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

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072/270: #Westminster – The Monolith

Westminster‘s massive monolithic shaft that leads down to the Jubilee Line platforms is another example of sheer architectural triumph that was the JLE. Like Canary Wharf (056), Westminster has a very industrial feel with exposed concrete and metal jutting out from every angle supporting escalators and walkways. It feels like you’re walking through the bowels of an interstellar cruise liner and I love every inch of it.

So iconic and representative of London Underground’s architectural pedigree, this station was voted 10th in the Transport Museums’ list of ultimate London Design Icons. It was one of only two stations to make the list – sitting proudly alongside other design greats such as the Black Cab and Harry Beck’s map.

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

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