100 Journeys: No 18

This week took me to a part of the network I don’t normally frequent and to a station I’ve never alighted at before: Warwick Avenue.

I don’t find myself on the Bakerloo Line often, but I’m very fond of it. If this project was about sounds then those of the Bakerloo would feature heavily in my list of favourites. The uneven clatter of the doors slamming together, the tuneful hum of the air compressors and the distinctive drone of the Metro-Cammell motors. It’s like traveling back in time.

The Bakerloo Line is the old gent of the Underground. It was there at the birth of The Tube in the early part of the 20th Century pioneering subterranean travel. It was an elegant Victorian transport solution and had stylish stations designed by legendary architect Leslie Green. It became a surban icon as it shared in the prosperous Metroland idyll with branches to Watford and Stanmore. It survived a Blitz. The Bakerloo Line has been through some stuff and it could tell you so many stories.

As time went on the Bakerloo Line grew old. It’s cousins on the Central and Northern kept up with the times evolving new technology and new trains. The Piccadilly got an extension to the airport to greet all of London’s guests whilst the Bakerloo had to give up one of it’s branches to the flashy new kid on the block. It’s stations got tattier (Warwick Ave Below), it’s responsibility shrunk, it’s signals aged and it’s dream of reaching Camberwell was abandoned. With most of it’s route superseded or duplicated by newer or more express lines, and without the unenviable task of having to run out to two suburban outposts, it’s hard to tell what the Bakerloo Line is really for anymore… But that’s never stopped the old chap. A reprieve is a long way off as new trains and signalling is not due until 2030. So until then the Bakerloo will keep soldiering on every day like it’s 1932.

You might get to your destination quicker on the Jubilee Line, or in more comfort on the Overground, but once in a while take The Bakerloo… It’ll tell you some stories…

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<< No 17 || No 19 >>

CAS Weekly 22/12/15

Seasons Greetings from Calling All Stations!
Time for one last Weekly for 2015 before we starting getting in the festive spirit, (well I’m actually working but anyway…)
Thank you for visiting this year and do come back in 2016 for lots more wonderful content.
Happy Holidays x

IMG_4442

Modelling

UK Rail

From The CAS Team

  • Just how far is it theoretically possible to go on one continuous train?

Compiled By Edward Kendall & Andy Carter

100 Journeys: No 9

The Friday Evening Shuffle.

For those not lucky enough to use Oxford Circus station during rush hour, they often intermittently close the station entrance due to overcrowding on the platforms bellow. This just moves the overcrowding onto street level where people often spill onto the road junction and generally make a massive cock up of an already heavily congested area. This is a station that seems to operate on the cusp of complete meltdown at all times. I’m surprised nobody has yet been hit by a bus or got crushed in the crowd as everybody shuffles closer to the entrance.

It could be argued that Oxford Circus has never really been fit for purpose. Crowds like this would regularly swamp the original Leslie Green surface buildings on the corner of Argyll Street, which, before the advent of the Victoria Line’s construction in the 1960’s, was the only entrance to the station.* London population has now evidently caught up with the 60’s ticket hall which lies directly beneath the road crossing and the crippling crowds have returned.

It’s easy to criticise without coming up with a solution, but a serious long term fix to this problem is a difficult one. The extensive rebuilds of neighbouring Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations for Crossrail will no doubt help – the two year part closure of the former of those two certainly adding to the Oxford Circus problem. But how long before these are at capacity? With the ever growing unaffordability of London housing, long distance commuting isn’t going to decrease anytime soon. Another rebuild of the station is probably best avoided too as real estate for alternative entrances is surely unobtainable in this area. It’s also such an important interchange TfL could do without having to close for long periods of time. Perhaps it’s time that pedestrianisation, or at least part pedestrianisation, of both Oxford Street and Regent Street is considered. It would surely give more street space to expand entrance staircases and maybe the ticket office bellow whilst still keeping the station open. The added benefit of course being that Europe’s so called premier shopping street will finally be rid of traffic.

Until then… shuffle shuffle.

*I seriously recommend a watch of Experiment Under London which documents the incredibly clever construction of the Oxford Circus ticket hall we know today.

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<< No 8 || No 10 >>