Towards the end of the autumn, Network Rail had a survey helicopter in the air over London.

As regular readers will know, the staff here at LR towers have a bit of a soft spot for photos of London’s railway infrastructure from the air, and so we were keen to secure some of the photographic results of that trip. Network Rail have been kind enough to oblige, and thus we are able to present the images below. These show many of London’s main terminals from the air, as well as some of the work currently taking place at Blackfriars.

At the end of the set are also several images of Stratford. The first gives a good idea of the layout of the various infrastructure that’s been building up there over recent years and the second a rather excellent view of the new Olympic stadium.

Finally, at the end is an image which appears to show two coupled units testing out twelve car running on the Thameslink.

All images come, obviously, courtesy of Network Rail.

Charing Cross


Waterloo (Again)

St Pancras

London Bridge


Waterloo from the front

Waterloo with a good view of the old Eurostar platforms

Cannon Street


Victoria again


Paddington again


Kings Cross and St Pancras

The Shard at London Bridge across the river



The Olympic Stadium

12 Car Thameslink testing
jump to the end
There are 30 comments on this article
  1. Claire Boyles says:

    It would be useful to have them labelled- I'm new to London & do not recognise which stations are which & I would love to know what I'm looking at.

  2. John Bull says:

    Have added captions for you Claire – hope that helps!

  3. kcm says:

    Very interesting, but what happened to Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street?

  4. John Bull says:

    Haven't got any shots of 'em unfortunately – which is a shame as I've got a bit of a soft spot for Fenchurch Street.

  5. Claire Boyles says:

    Cool thanks! Much more enjoyable, now I know where they are πŸ™‚

  6. Anonymous says:

    Such a shame Waterloo and the line out of CHX aren't joined up, given they're so close…

  7. greg tingey says:

    Pretty please – any hope of Liverpool Street & Fenchurch – and some bigger suburban stations, come to that?

    Delete the vile "olympic" stadium.
    But I do like the shot of (I think) Leagrave station with the Tame-Slink units on 12-car test ….

  8. Valentine says:

    Fantastic photos, thanks for sharing.

    Its interesting how the St Pancras roof looks ornate and traditional from the inside but from above looks modern, atificial even (not in a bad way, just different). The old with the new, its like the ultimate Grand Designs job!

    And from above that 1980s Charing Cross building makes more sense to me now; it's overall shape is quite traditional, almost like a cathedral, but you dont really get that sense at ground level.

    And Euston is so huge! That job to rebuild it is going to cost a mountain of cash.

  9. Slugabed says:

    To Anonymous….
    They WERE joined up,many years ago!
    If you look carefully at the pictures of Waterloo which show the frontage,you can discern the curved line the link took.
    It was single-track,little used,and ran across the concourse;all reasons for its disappearance.
    I often like to imagine its re-instatement,with a man in a top-hat with a red flag guiding trains across the concourse…

  10. greg tingey says:

    Anon-y-mouse & slug-a-bed:
    Even more interesting was the proposal, from much earlier, to extend from Waterloo throughto London Bridge, where a giant "back-to-back" terminus with the SER would have arisen.

    The Charing X extension, and the "windsor connection" as it was known, were afterthoughts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can you advise where the TL trial train is please.

  12. greg tingey says:

    Anon-y-Mouse @ end …
    I already SAID… Leagrave.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There wasn't one of Marylebone by any chance was there?

  14. GM says:

    Fantastic pictures. Great to see the construction at Blackfiars.

  15. Anonymous says:

    To 'greg-tingey'

    You said you 'thought' it was Leagrave station – I was asking the OP to give a definitive answer.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Took a trip on Thameslink yesterday and (as expected) they've switched which half of Blackfriars trains run through.

    Also noticed they've started erecting the steelwork for the new ticket hall at Farringdon, and the permanent entrance at Turnmill Street (with ticket barriers) is almost ready to open. They've already brought into use the staircase nearest it and demolished the adjacent one that went the footbridge.

  17. Jas says:

    Anyone got a picture or link showing how the old Waterloo curve ran through the station before running over the still existant bridge?

  18. timbeau says:

    I have a book "Railways of Waterloo" by J N Faulkner (Ian Allen, 1994) which shows the layout of the station in the mid 1890s and in 1910.

    You must bear in mind that the main station was completely rebuilt in stages from south to north between 1900 and 1922, and the spur disappeared in 1911 as part of this process.

    The link was an extension of a siding located between what were then platforms 2 and 3 (roughly where platform 10 is now) and extended across the concourse and station frontage and across the cab road to the now disused bridge across Waterloo Road – this bridge was used for pedestrian access to Waterloo East until the present high level span was built in c 1990.

    Old Platforms 2 and 3 were much longer than the rest, extending deep into the concourse (in the way two platforms at Liverpool Street did until recently) and, even without the spur, they effectively cut off platform 1, and the separate South station built in 1878, from the rest of the complex. (The south station closed in 1909, and the present platforms 4 and 5 now occupy the site.)

    The book includes a photo of the spur, showing that the concourse floor sloped down to the tracks on either side, and there was also a drawbridge to allow barrows a level passageway between platforms 2 and 3. There was also a footbridge from platform 1 to platform 5.

  19. greg tingey says:

    If you took the trouble, it isn't difficult to fimd out where the station is..
    a] look carefully at the picture – this tells you which part of the route it is in …
    b] Use a standard web geography programme to search that part of the route.
    I'ts Leagrave.
    Like I said. grrr ….

    O. S. Nock's book on the LSWR has a plan, but no photos. Ditto, no pics in either Dendy Marshall, nor Jackson's book on London's termini.
    Photos are harder to find.

    I'm sure I've seen one … but?
    Museum of London? LT museum?

  20. greg tingey says:

    I can scan in the diagram from Nock's book of the "Old" Waterloo layout, and post it to the webmaster, if people would like that?

  21. Jas says:

    Yes please!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Apart from the obvious artistic aspects to these pictures did NR give any reason why they actually paid for a helicopter to go up and take these photos?

    Do they serve some purpose for infrastructure planning, or is it another attempt to fine some way of spending all our money?

  23. Anonymous says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Anon @ 3/1 (00:15)….. ironic to read this story on the day that rail fares have substantially increased, with more of the cost burden to fall on rail users rather than taxpayers. So thanks for the nice pics, NR, but bearing in mind that the costs of running the railways in the UK is apparently already the highest in Europe, I trust that the expenditure involved in helicopter surveys was cost effective !

  24. Andrew Taylor says:

    more of the cost burden to fall on rail users rather than taxpayers??????????????????? Do rail users pay lower taxes then.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to see that Stratford International station is now surrounded new buildings, almost hiding it from view. Is one of them the new Westfield shopping centre?

  26. Anonymous says:

    yes, the buildings directly behind the regional station are the new shopping centre.

  27. Slugabed says:

    Is there any chance of letting us see that picture of the Waterloo Link? Have you an internet link or could you upload it??
    Many thanks.

  28. [email protected] says:

    Firstly sorry but Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street and Marylebone weren't on the survey route.

    Secondly the 12 car train was indeed at Leagrave.

    Thirdly – the images were actually taken on two different trips.

    Network Rail makes extensive use of survey helicopters for a wide range of reasons including inspection of electrical installations using sophisticsated sensor equipment.

    That work was previously done by land based crews and, due to the constraints of the work and locations, work could often be done only under possession – It took way longer, and it was therefore rather more expensive.

    So, far from being an extravagance, it is actually cheaper and more efficient.

    The only additional cost here was putting a photographer into a helicopter that was running regular route. Those photographs have been used to explain to passengers what we are doing at a wide range of locations – Pictures do indeed speak a thousand words and, suffice to say it's very much easier to show what we are doing and where than try to explain it without the pics.

  29. John Bull says:

    [email protected] beat me to it – basically they use choppers for various surveys that in many cases previously required possessions (like he says).

  30. Whistlekiller says:

    Anon 3rd January 14:14. I'd bloody well hope and expect rail users to take an ever increasing share of the cost of their journeys as opposed to the general tax payer who may never take a train at all. Alternatively, you may have a point……so to reciprocate, I'll send you an invoice for your share of my (also)ever increasing annual car tax and petrol bill…….

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