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Exposed Underground

22nd October 2014
 

So on our Twitter feed a lot recently, we’ve been playing the ‘WHERE AM I?’ game, with a piece of cut and cover track exposed in the open in a cutting, and we’ve been asking you to try and name where it is.  Some are harder than others, and amazingly some people have got some really hard ones.

So we’ve been putting a map together – a map of all the places where you can see the Underground (mainly at cut & cover level) where it breaks out into the open for a moment before disappearing back into a tunnel.  It looks something like the image below.  Would you be interested in seeing the finished variant?

Exposed Underground

Exposed Underground


Paddington photos

21st October 2014
 

We were in the Paddington area yesterday doing some Station Master research and saw something which we think is new – on the approach to the H&C station is a small gallery of old black and white photos, showing the construction of this – the original tube line in London when it was built in 1863.

We’d not seen it before – worth stopping to take a look next time you’re wandering past.

Paddington Gallery

Paddington Gallery


Bus trails

20th October 2014
 

Remember the elephants that came to London a while ago?  Small sculptures placed around key locations in the Capital, part of an art project – well TfL have got on board with the fun, by doing the same with some miniature London Buses.

The press release reads: “Presented in partnership with Wild in Art, the Year of the Bus Sculpture Trails have brought businesses and artists together to create a series of free and accessible public art sculpture trails across London’s streets, parks and public spaces.”

There are three trail installations going live today (Monday 20th October) around London, one in Westminster, one along the Thames, and one in the Olympic Park. A fourth will be added in the new year.

Bus-spotting it may be, but in a nice, artistic, non-anoraky kind of way …

Bus sculpture

Bus sculpture


Just visiting

17th October 2014
 

For the first time ever this week, we saw something that we’d only heard about before, but never seen. There is a variant of the Oyster Card called the Visitor Oyster Card.

Typically, you’d get one of you live outside of London, and you can order one online from the TfL website to have one sent to you, pre-loaded with PAYG money to spend for when you visit London.

The difference is though, is that the £3 deposit you pay to get is NOT refundable (unlike a regular blue coloured Oyster card), and you can only load Pay-as-you-Go credit onto it, you can’t load Travelcard/Seasons onto it – just PAYG.

Aside from all that they’re quite pretty too and a much more colourful than your regular blue-coloured Oyster! And here’s what they look like …

Visitor Oyster Card

Visitor Oyster Card


Step-free London Bridge

11th October 2014
 

We’re a bit confused about the step free arrangements at London Bridge station.  They recently finished building a new ‘side entrance’ into the station along with a shopping parade, and next to it, what must have cost a lot of money to build, an ‘S-bend’ style ramp with a wide guide .. for, wheelchair users right?  Uh, no.

Step free London Bridge

Step free London Bridge

This is the sign that greets you by the entrance to the new ramp indicating that it’s for people with luggage and pushchairs only – because there’s no lift here, only escalators.

For complete step-free access at London Bridge you have to use the entrance/exit round on Borough High Street, and here’s where we spotted something else unusual – the lifts are inside their respective gatelines – meaning that if you’re a wheelchair user changing between the Jubilee and Northern you have to exit through one gateline, and then enter back through another!

This is fine if you’re on a travelcard or Freedom pass, but if you’re on Pay As You Go Oyster (or Contactless) then it will sting you for two fares, so you have to make sure that you ask the station staff to let you out of one barrier, and back into another.


New Tube for London

10th October 2014
 

We almost don’t need to mention it .. considering everyone else has, but in case you somehow missed the TfL press release yesterday which showed us the plans for the new tube train for London, coming … not that soon on the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City Line.

The BBC reported it here, Diamond Geezer here, even a design breakdown on Wired here. And of course, there’s a promotional video.

Go and see the display yourself at King’s Cross for the next month, and place a bet with yourself whether the timescales laid out will really happen.  We’re betting that we won’t be alive anymore by the time driverless trains do come to the tube.

I’m wondering if the tight curves and bends (bendier than other lines) on the Bakerloo line really can mean that new standard stock can be rolled out. Others are wondering due to the phrasing used if it really is air conditioning, or just air cooling.    Having on-board information screens is great though, but feels like we’re ten years behind the times as we should have those already – so they’ll be welcome.

And if the new trains are walk-through, it does beg the questions – why weren’t the new Victoria Line trains introduced only a couple of years ago made as ‘walk through’ trains instead of separate carriages?

Anyway. Aside from all that. You also have to ask yourself – are the new London Tube Trains as good as the new Russian Moscow trains


Latimer Road Closure

9th October 2014
 
Latimer Road Closure

Latimer Road Closure

It is frustrating that we can find nothing about this on the TfL website, and that the only way that we knew about it was by seeing a poster at Hammersmith tube station the other day.

Latimer Road will be half-closed throughout most of October as you won’t be able to get on or off an eastbound (towards Baker Street) train for several weeks whilst work is being done.

It was only a couple of years ago that the station was closed completely for several months whilst they extended the platforms, and now it’s being part closed again …

 


Gospel Oak Ticket Hall

7th October 2014
 

We passed through Gospel Oak station last week to find that the new ticket hall which they’ve been building for several months is now in place.  It’s opened up a large space – about three times bigger than it was before – with over twice the number of barriers that there were before to cope with the increased number of passengers now passing through this station.

What with the lifts, and the new coffee shop on Platform 2/3, Gospel Oak is a much improved station than what it was just 18 months ago!

Gospel Oak Ticket Hall

Gospel Oak Ticket Hall


Mill Hill and beyond

5th October 2014
 

We do like an old map here at Station Master so it was nice to stumble upon this LNER map on a preserved carriage the other day, showing how steam train services used to run beyond Mill Hill East station to Edgware, and of course how train services used to run to Alexander Palace also calling at Cranley Gardens and Muswell Hill.  If it were not for the war, they could have been Northern Line stations …

LNER map

LNER map


Very Accessible

3rd October 2014
 

Yesterday TfL ran their first ever Accessibility Exhibition down at London’s ExCeL centre, and we popped down in the afternoon to see what was on offer and catch up with some familiar faces.

Most familiar was our friend Christiane Link from Transport for All – who were all celebrating the fact that just that morning an extra £19 million had been agreed to make all Crossrail stations step free.

Christiane

Christiane

This is for where the new Crossrail line is taking over existing stations where there currently are no lifts, and the original plans for Crossrail did not make any provision for them.  Transport for All (amongst others) campaigned hard against this and the good news now is that all London Crossrail stations will have step-free access. (There are still three outside of London which are being negotiated).

(Read more here on Londonist)

There was also the news that another £75 million had become available to make more stations on the tube network such as Mill Hill East, Newbury Park, Osterley, West Brompton and White City accessible.

There was a whole range of information about accessible service and future transport services coming to London, something that caught our eye was the artists impression of what Greenford will look when the new inclinator is finally installed and running next year.

Greenford Inclinator

Greenford Inclinator