Willesden Junction shouldn’t be that confusing. It has 5 platforms. 2 up top for the Overground, 2 down below for the Bakerloo and Watford DC lines and a 5th lesser used bay that we don’t really need to worry about. The thing is, it’s not Willesden’s platform layout that we found confusing, it’s the connecting passageways and non-descript exits that really will disorient and bemuse you.
I suspect it’s down to the history of Willesden Junction. This used to be 3 technically separate stations (the two we’ve mentioned already plus a now demolished main line station), each built stand alone with their own unique entrances. Sure they’ve been knitted together after, but the entrances have not been sufficiently rationalised. This probably wasn’t too much of a problem until very recently when the advent of the automated ticket barrier meant you couldn’t simply walk back through the station if you got it wrong. Now, exit at the wrong gateline and, due to the nature of the railway landscape, you’re about half a mile away from where you actually wanted to be.
The signage doesn’t help either, especially for new comers not really sure of their surroundings. Victoria and I learnt this the hard way when we both agreed to follow signs for “Buses” blissfully unaware there were in fact “Buses” at both exits…
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk