To most Londoners, Crossrail remains hidden – at least as long as works aren’t inconveniencing a daily commute. The dock north of Canary Wharf has now been filled in by a beehive of workers, but the serious work of tunnelling and station building is largely hidden out of sight.

2013, however, arguably represents the point at which Crossrail’s visible profile will begin to climb, and so as the year opens this seems a good opportunity to take a look at the project again. In the first part of this series, we will therefore resort to a tried-and-trusted LR staple – the aerial photo – to highlight some of the current workings on the Crossrail project. In the second part, with the help of LR Photographer-In-Chief Unravelled, we will revisit some of the works of particular interest – Custom House and the Connaught Tunnel – and we will take a look at what is happening at Finsbury Circus.

Without further ado however, and in the words of Mr Schwarzenegger himself, let us get to the chopper…

Wallasea Island

The largest new wetland nature reserve to be created in Europe for over fifty years, Wallasea is a prime recipient of Crossrail’s spoil and a key part of the project. We’ve looked at this site in detail before, but the view from the air helps give some kind of sense of scale to the Crossrail spoil reception centre on the island.

The spoil arrival point at Wallasea Island

The spoil arrival point at Wallasea Island

A closer view of Wallasea

A closer view of Wallasea

Old Oak Common

At Old Oak Common, manufacturing of tunnel segments is now in full swing. The photo below gives some idea as to just how large a task this actually is.

The Crossrail Factory at Old Oak Common

The Crossrail Factory at Old Oak Common

Royal Oak Portal

Crossrail’s longest active portal has had its share of issues in recent months, but tunnelling is progressing at the site. We last took a detailed look at the Portal back in September 2011, but will be revisiting it in detail once the report into the spoil conveyor issues at the site surfaces. The photo also gives a rather nice view of Westbourne Park station, highlighting its thin frontage on the road bridge.

Crossrail Royal Oak Portal

Crossrail Royal Oak Portal


Beneath the surface, the Crossrail TBMs have now been beyond Paddington for sometime. On the surface, however, it is nice to see the new station beginning to emerge.

Paddington Station from the air

Paddington Station from the air

Bond Street

Bond Street is a site we have neglected in recent months, with Tottenham Court Road tending to be the higher profile work site in the area. We will take a more detailed look at what is happening at Bond Street in the coming months.

Bond Street, Davies Street view

Bond Street, Davies Street view

The Bond Street station site

The Bond Street station site

Tottenham Court Road

The Crossrail (and Underground) site at Tottenham Court Road remains arguably one of the most high-profile works in Central London. The photo below once again highlights just how restricted a site it actually is.

Tottenham Court Road and Centre Point

Tottenham Court Road and Centre Point


In railway terms, Farringdon has changed enormously over its history. We’ve extensively covered the history of the railway in Farringdon before, but this photo nicely highlights the old-meets-new nature of the station and the alignments in the area.

Farringdon Station (and Smithfield Market)

Farringdon Station (and Smithfield Market)

Liverpool Street & Finsbury Circus

The Liverpool Street station works are something that we will visit in greater detail in Part 2. Once again, however, the photos below highlight just how much work is being fitted in to a very confined space in Finsbury Circus.

Crossrail in Finsbury Circus

Crossrail in Finsbury Circus


Crossrail’s Whitechapel station is another topic we will look at in more detail as the year progresses. For now, this photo shows how the Crossrail and Underground stations relate to each other rather nicely.

Crossrail at Whitechapel

Crossrail at Whitechapel

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is the most advanced of the Crossrail station projects, largely because Canary Wharf Group are pushing to have the shopping centre that forms part of the station open as soon as possible.

Canary Wharf at night

Canary Wharf at night

Custom House & the Connaught Tunnel

We were lucky enough to be there when Crossrail took possession of the Connaught Tunnel. Both the tunnel itself and Custom House station will be looked at in detail again in Part 2, but in the meantime the photos below show the layout of the area rather nicely, and highlight just how close Crossrail passes to City Airport.

Custom House and the Connaught Tunnel

DLR Prince Regent and the Connaught Tunnel

The Connaught Tunnel

The Connaught Tunnel

Limmo Portal

We looked at what was happening below ground at Limmo relatively recently, but this photo shows quite clearly the limitations of the site.

The Crossrail Portal at Limmo

The Crossrail Portal at Limmo

Pudding Mill Lane

The Pudding Mill site will be one that’s familiar to Olympic and Westfield visitors. These photos show its relation to the general area nicely, and give a nice view of the tunnel head.

Pudding Mill Lane station

Pudding Mill Lane station

The tunnel head at Pudding Mill Lane

The tunnel head at Pudding Mill Lane

Plumstead Portal

The photo below nicely demonstrates just how narrow the Plumstead Portal for the slurry TBMs actually is.

Plumstead Crossrail Portal

Plumstead Crossrail Portal


Our friend Ianvisits paid a visit to Woolwich last summer, which helps provide some context for the photo below.

Woolwich Crossrail Station Box

Woolwich Crossrail Station Box

And finally… Stepney

Possibly our favourite photo of this selection, the image below seems to sum up both Crossrail and London itself, with the football pitch, construction work, City Farm and houses all in view. Stepney is an important point in the Crossrail route, as it is here that the line splits. Again, Ianvisits has an excellent piece on the site which is well worth a read.

Stepney Green Crossrail shaft

Stepney Green Crossrail shaft

In Part 2 we will look in more detail at some of the key sites above, and explore how things have changed since our last visit to the Connaught Tunnel.

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There are 73 comments on this article
  1. Chris says:

    Excellent pictures – just one minor detail – I believe the picture of the construction work around Liverpool Street/Moorgate is actually taking place at Finsbury Circus, not Finsbury Square.

  2. Looks like Finsbury Circus to me and the internal title of the photo said Finsbury Circus so I have changed it. Ta.

  3. swirlythingy says:

    When, in the Woolwich section, you say “earlier this year”, I think you mean “last year”. It’s OK, this is going to be very difficult for everyone. [I have changed it to “last summer”. Ta. PoP ]

  4. Alan Griffiths says:

    Custom House and the Connaught Tunnel

    The DLR station in this photo is Prince Regent, with its bus station. Custom House station is not in the picture.

  5. Alan Griffiths says:

    Pudding Mill Lane station; clearly shows the replacement DLR station and new DLR viaduct to the east as far as Greenway/ Northern Outfall Sewer. I exchanged e-mails with the Crossrail help desk about this site. They said they’d update

    the TBM postions (twice a month would be enough for me) but did not respond at all to the lack of website notes about the portal and DLR works at Pudding Mill Lane.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This was brought up the last time you mentioned Wallasea, but the Dutch Oostvaardersplassen reserve is far bigger (3600 hectares of wetland vs 600 for Wallasea) and created around 1970 – less than 50 years ago. It’s not a coastal wetland, though, since it borders on a freshwater inland sea – maybe the original statistic was that Wallasea was the largest coastal wetland to be created for over 50 years.

  7. John Bull says:

    Well spotted Alan – cheers.

    And yes , I’d only just got used to it being 2012…

  8. Anonymous says:

    A nice article, with some nice photos too. And some nice captions, but they nicely demonstrate a slight overuse of the word, er, …

    Sorry to carp – this is a favourite blog, with uniformly high standards; but I just couldn’t resist …

  9. John Bull says:

    Yes – I’ll admit I was struggling a bit for alternative captions there.

  10. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Alan Griffiths,

    Regarding lack of info on Pudding Mill Lane site. Yes, this can be a bit infuriating but “near you” is clearly intended to keep people informed about how they may be affected by Crossrail Works. So if they are modifying a parapet on an unimportant bridge that involves a single overnight road closure on a minor road then it appears on the map with the necessary details. If you have an enormous construction site in an industrial area that does not impact on the general public it does not get a mention.

    There is a similar issue with Thameslink in general and its website in particular. It is clearly trying to keep rail users informed and explain what work is being done and why it needs doing but it is rare that any activity that does not take place at a station gets a mention.

  11. Greg Tingey says:

    Looking at the Whitechapel picture, I can’t help but think that LUL have “screwed the pooch” again ….
    A single-track reversible centre-road, with widened platforms, which also then fanned back to the two tracks to the east [ In the style of Loughton or White City or Arnos Grove ] would have been a much better idea, retaining operational felxibilty, an emergency turn-around & terminating point & spare capacity all in one go.
    I suppose it was too obvious & simple for them to do something so sensible?

  12. Alex Frost says:

    I suspect that overcrowding relief provided by a single large circulation area was judged to be more important considering how much busier the station will be when Crossrail opens.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What is the Finsbury Circus worksite constructing? A ventilation shaft or is it another entrance into the Moorgate/Liverpool St station?

  14. That will be revealed in part 2.

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    If you look at a map, you will see that Finsbury Circus is midway between Liverpool Street & Moorgate.
    So, although there are access works at both ends, there is also an access point from the middle of the circus, which is almost direcly over the centre of the new Crossrail platforms.
    Whether there will be a permanent shaft there, I don’t know/remember, but it makes sense to have as many access poins for such a project.

  16. Whiff says:

    Some fantastic photos there; I particularly like the one of Old Oak Common revealing the usually hidden canal and what is presumably the northern half of the centre of London.

  17. Fandroid says:

    My understanding is that Finsbury Circus is going to be restored after construction finishes. There will permanent accesses via Moorgate tube station and Liverpool Street station.

  18. Josh says:

    When the TBMs took a rest at Paddington, was there anything to rest in? It doesn’t look like there was a station box waiting for them unlike at Canary Wharf.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Very good article – thank you. At the risk of being trivial in regard to such awesome engineering I do wonder what on earth the London Tube Map of 2018 will look like. I guess there’s going to have to be a pretty comprehensive redesign of the central area: will Crossrail be horizontal with everything snaking round it or will we keep to the present (more or less) horizontal Central Line with Crossrail doing the snaking? And while they’re at it could they re-include the very useful St Pancras London Bridge/ Elephant line in the 2018 edition?

  20. Anonymous says:

    All this hardware and a highly skilled team ready deploy on Crossrail 2 or HS2 when Crossrail 1 is finished.

    No that is just silly – disband the team and flog the hardware at giveaway prices when the job is finished. Then wait twenty or so years and build it all up again.

  21. Ed says:

    Hmm at Paddington I can see the new hammersmith & city line platform and the new canopy over the taxi rank on the east side but I can’t see much emerging through all the building work on the west where the crossrail platforms will actually be, under the road, right? Is there anything under there yet?

    Also I wonder which came first, Paddington station or that hotel directly in front of the station. However did they get planning permission? It seems really awkward from the aerial view.

  22. Greg Tingey says:

    Station, then the Gas Works Hotel

  23. Pete In USA says:

    I love it when LR has aerial photos! I get a good sense of how much work is involved. I look forward to the Whitechaple station article.


  24. Paul says:

    Ed 10:17pm

    The order of doing things at Paddington meant that they had to relocate the taxi rank permanently, and it made sense to integrate the management of the H&C station rebuild, and the NR span 4 rebuild into what became known as the Paddington integrated project (PIP).

    However it is only really the taxi rank that is down to Crossrail. And of course the station box couldn’t start before the taxi rank was ready, but the rest of the north side project has no direct connection to Crossrail – although I have read a very confused report a while back that reckoned wrongly that PIP includes a Crossrail entrance…

  25. Ian Sergeant says:

    Beneath the surface, the Crossrail TBMs have now been beyond Paddington for sometime.

    Well Ada’s head is beyond Paddington, but her tail still lies across the station box.

    Ada on 07/01/12

  26. Whiff says:

    Ed – despite it’s title this post from last summer, as well as the first few comments, has a good explanation of the works at Paddington.

  27. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 20.40
    IIRC there was a copy of “What TfL’s network will look like in 2020” in their draft business plan, near the end of the document – try … HERE

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Greg. Pity the St Pancras – London Bridge Line isn’t shown, different bureaucracy but tremendously useful for travel planning. It used to be on the tube maps years ago.

  29. timbeau says:

    Ed: The “Hilton London Paddington” hotel was built at the same time as the station, in the 1850s. The station replaced the original one at Bishops Bridge which is now occupied by the “Paddington Central” development (Sheldon Square and Kingdom Street) between the Westway and the station throat. It was not unusual for railway companies to incorprate hotels into their statoins – the hotel buildings at St Pancras, Charing Cross, Marylebone, Victoria, Kings Cross, and Liverpool Street all survive in one form or another. Some were later converted to offices, but most of them remained in railway ownership until they were soldoff to the private sector in 1983.

  30. timbeau says:


    Agreed – as a map of what TfL is responsible for it’s not bad. As a journey planner it can be very unhelpful. The Northern City Line used to be shown until at least 1990, long after it was transferred to BR control in 1975, and, although not on Beck’s original, the W&C was added some time before WW2, although it did not become part of TfL until 1994.

    Pity the tourist using the Tube map to get from Old Street to Highbury & Islington, or Victoria to Clapham Junction, or Woolwich Arsenal to Charing Cross!

  31. Stu says:

    Crossrail connectivity to London City Airport isn’t ideal either considering how close it passes by …

  32. stimarco says:


    At Charing Cross and other stations, passengers pass right under the hotel façades to access the station proper, but this clearly wasn’t the intention at Paddington, where passengers have to walk down that tatty little road alongside the hotel instead.

    The only terminus I can think of that’s likely to have major entrances along its sides in future is London Bridge, and even that will be mostly a through station when the rebuilding work finishes.

    King’s Cross, Euston (as was), St. Pancras, the two Victorias and Charing Cross all seem to have been designed from the outset with their main entrances across the buffers rather than up one side of the station. This was even the case with the original terminus building at Greenwich, which easily predates the GWR, so there were plenty of existing examples when Paddington’s present structure was built.

    So: why does Paddington have its prettiest façade looking onto Eastbourne Terrace, which runs along one side of the station, instead of Praed Street? It wasn’t the first terminus built in the UK – the present structure isn’t even the original – so there must have been some reason for the architect’s decisions.

  33. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting to see these sites from the air, as it gives a great sense of proportion. As someone who has been involved in Crossrail’s activities at Paddington (and many other sites) i able to shed a little light on the construciton work that is going on in Eastbourne Terrace and what was Departures Road. Once Eastbourne Terrace was closed to traffic, work started in ernest make the site level, then install diaphram walls / piles around the edge of what will become the station box. The TBM’s have then passed through the site and are now heading towards Bond Street.

    Each Crossrail site utilises different construction technics. Some have a top down approach and others have a ‘bottom up’ approach. I’m not a civil engineer so not in a position to explain the nuances of each. However, for Paddington i do know that a ‘top down’ approach is being employed. Which basically means they dig out the station box from within the confines of the diaphram walls.

    Ultimately a slab roof will be installed, Departures Road turned into the main station entrance and access point and Eastbourne Terrace returned to buses, coaches and other vehicles. (plus two vent shafts at either end).

  34. Fandroid says:

    The original Brunel Paddington (there was a temporary one further west) was as eccentric as the man himself. The Departure platforms were on the Eastbourne Terrace side and the arrival platforms were on the other side which then had access out onto London Street. Between arrivals and departures were several sidings. There was no passenger access around the track ends as they butted right up to the Hotel. Access from the main buildings on Eastbourne Terrace to the island platforms was by use of ‘bridges’ which were raised and lowered as required. All this is to be found in Alan Jackson’s ‘London Termini’.

  35. Fandroid says:

    For those who puzzle at the term ‘Diaphragm Walls’, they are constructed as follows:

    Large steel tubes are pushed into the ground and the earth inside is augered out using a giant version of a corkscrew. Steel reinforcement, previously made into a ‘cage’, is lowered into the hole. Concrete is then poured in and the steel tube withdrawn. This process is repeated along the line of the wall, with each tube butting closely up to the concrete left from the adjacent one. The walls are usually supported by massive horizontal steel frameworks until the permanent structure is able to support the walls.

    I’ve probably left out some vital detail, but that’s generally what the technique involves.

  36. timbeau says:

    Liverpool Street was another example where there was no platform level access from one side of the station to another (except by a narrow passageway under the hotel) . The thinking at paddington, like a lot of early stations such as Kings Cross, was that all traisn would depart from a single “departures” platform (the present No 1 at Paddington) and therefore the main entrance and ab drop off point was on that side. Similarly the exit was next to the sole “arrivals” platform, where, until recently, the cab rank was. The space in between these two platforms was used as carriage sidings. The original layout at Kings Cross was similar, where it has redently been re-instated to some extent, with the separation of arrivals and departures .
    As frequencies increased, it was not possible to handle all departures from a single platform, and so a way had to be found to get people to the middle platforms: so followed the shortening of the sidings and the building of what, in any other station, would be called a concourse but the GWR is pleased to call “The Lawn”

  37. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 14.02
    I think you mean departures Road/ Eastbourne TErrce will be returned to being the main entrance (from the road) – as it was….

    Fandroid – almost all the London Termini started out like that – a departures side, an arrival side & the rest of the station was a carriage-shed. Certainly both King’s Cross & ST Pancras were that way, & then more platforms were put in, as traffic increased. As you say, Jackson’s book shows this quite clearly.

  38. SteveP says:

    Not sure how other stations are affected, but in my opinion it is shocking how poorly commuters are being considered at Paddington during Crassrail work. Originally there was supposed to be a south-western entrance left open (by the Sainsbury’s) but although still being shown on “official” plans, this was immediately closed, leaving the only southern “entrance” the slip road where all deliveries also take place. This road has a boom to prevent unauthorised (i.e. taxi) use, so many thousands of pedestrians are herded along two narrow pavements, one broken repeatedly by loading access. TfL/Crassrail, etc. have not even bothered to cut the kerbs, so anyone in a wheelchair or travellers with wheeled luggage are constantly tripped up as they make their way along. Then, at the entrance, they must negotiate a scrum of smokers who huddle in this area as it is “outside” the station but somewhat protected. Proof positive that no one in TfL or Crassrail cares for individual commuters. And BTW, if you want to drop off or pick up someone at Paddington in a private car, guess what? You can’t (well, not legally). Nice planning!

  39. Greg Tingey says:

    Steve P
    Coupled with the terrible up / down / over / under / round / sideways negotiations necessary to get between Platforms 15/16 & 12/13/14
    I realise that some of it is temporary, because of the construction work, but even so it is very bad & was poorly signposted. One hopes it will be better soon – & long before Crossrail opens, too!
    Having worked there recently, the number of totally disoriented passengers who asked us for directional help [ We had CLIPBOARDS – we MUST know what’s going on! ] was not encouraging.

  40. Fandroid says:


    the odd thing about Paddington was that it had island platforms from the start (one each parallel to the main departures and arrivals platforms). The bridges, which could be raised and lowered, were also there from the start. I don’t know whether any of the other original termini also had them.

    Steve P,

    Has anyone complained direct to Crossrail about the pedestrian access into Paddington? They seem to be reasonably sensitive to the ‘considerate contractor’ principle, and sorting out that entrance would cost peanuts compared with their Paddington station project, let alone the whole Crossrail project.

  41. Littlejohn says:

    Fandroid 02:15PM, 8th January 2013

    Although I can’t locate the source at the moment I’m sure I have something that says that the original plan for the GWR was that it would terminate at Euston and the position of the temporary terminus was to facilitate this. This accounts for the odd alignment and the right hand bend on the approach to Paddington.

  42. timbeau says:

    Alan A jackson’s book “London termini” says that the design of the original Euston had the L&B’s original station on the eastern half of the site, intended to accommodate the GWR on the western side. This accounts for the main entrance and offices, the Great Hall, etc, which had been built on the “departure” side of the London & Birmingham’s half of the site, ending up inconveniently in the middle of the station after it had been expanded to the west, to take up the space the GWR never used. Certainly it was inconvenient, but whetherquite soi much would have had to go if the rebuilding were to be done today rather than in the iconoclastic sixties is debatable.

    A similar situation exists to this day at Victoria, which is still very obviously two separate stations,originally the rather down-at-heel “Chatham” line and the rather more genteel “Brighton” line, immortalised by Oscar Wilde’s Ernest Worthing as he tries to talk up the location where he was found as a baby. “The line is immaterial”, ripostes Lady Bracknell.

  43. Slugabed says:

    I might be mistaken,but I thought I’d read somewhere that the GWR was going to join the line into Euston in the Willesden Jct area….where the lines ARE very close to one another.The kink at the throat of the pesent Paddington station being due to the proximity of the canal basin immediately to the East…

  44. mr_jrt says:

    Indeed, it’s why Euston was bless with 4 lines into it from the outset – one pair were for the GWR.

  45. Anonymous says:

    “…in the words of Mr Schwarzenegger himself, let us get to the chopper…”

    A great article and a great line – made me chuckle!

  46. Littlejohn says:

    I have now found the references I was looking for – primarily Britain’s Rail Super Centres – Paddington (Laurence Waters, pub Ian Allan) but also London and its Railways ((Davies and Grant, pub David and Charles). It seems the original intention was to ‘terminate by a junction with the London and Birmingham Railway in a certain field lying between the Paddington Canal and the Turnpike Road’ (Prospectus, November 1834) – was this possibly in the Old Oak Common area? So my memory that the Euston plan led to the current alignment was in error.

    What did lead to the current alignment was the need to build a temporary wooden station to get the line open as soon as possible. This was due to delays in getting the final Act for the section into the permanent station and the need to construct a bridge to take Bishop’s Road over the line. The temporary station (in use from 1838 – 1854) was on the site of the later parcels depot and the alignment provided for a straight run in. Slugabed suggests it was the canal basin that caused the kink in the line but that seems not to be strictly true – rather it was the need to get the line from the existing alignment into the new site (which the GWR has actually owned since 1837).

  47. Slugabed says:

    Making the reasonable assumption that the “Turnpike” mentioned in the Prospectus is Harrow Road,the field mentioned is probably the site of St.Mary’s Cemetery (not founded until 1854).
    The two lines are close here and are both South of Harrow Road.
    The canal basin was built in 1801 and,until the (relatively) recent rebuilding of Bishop’s Road Bridge there was a boundary marker showing the extent of canal land. well onto the bridge which crossed the railway,whose purchase of land would have been constrained by the presence of the canal basin and its associated land.

  48. Littlejohn says:

    Slugabed is probably right – the Turnpike Road is described as ‘leading from London to Harrow on the Western side of the General Cemetery in the Parish or Township of Hammersmith’. It is interesting that while the departure side of the new station was brought into use on 16 January 1854, trains continued to terminate at the old station until 29 May of that year. What fun empty stock movements must have been!

  49. Stu says:

    It seems hard to believe that it took a while to figure out how a mainline terminus station should work nowadays – it is all so “normal”. But I guess it was all very different back in the mid 1850s …

  50. Pedantic of Purley says:

    An astute point we often forget. If you visit the Cromford and High Peak railway you will see an early railway which was very much influenced by canal-based ideas as that is all they had experienced. So, amongst other things, the railway was completely flat except for the rope-hauled inclines which were the equivalent of canal locks.

    It is not just mainline termini. The original City & South London terminal at King William Street was quite hopeless. The original intention was to use cable haulage which goes some way to explain the unsatisfactory nature of the terminus. Even so, it is difficult to imagine how they ever thought it would work anything like satisfactorily, until you appreciate that they were true pioneers and just did not know what an underground electric train was and was not capable of.

  51. stimarco says:

    Intriguing. I was aware of the early preference for a single arrivals and another departures platform at most of the termini during their early years, but the moving bridges thing is new to me.

    But this does make me wonder why Paddington was never modified the way the other termini were. Why does Paddington still retain that monumental side entrance, and why was the ‘front’ of the station never improved, as occurred at so many of its peers?

    Also, re. the Cromford & High Peak Railway: Euston had rope-hauled inclines to bring the carriages (and passengers) in and out of Euston’s platforms. And the London & Blackwall Railway was entirely cable-hauled on opening. (One of the hydraulic accumulator towers used to power the system is still standing.)

    Rope! Who knew it could be used for so much more than mooring ships?

  52. Greg Tingey says:

    The last main line rope-hauled (or rope-assisted) incline was that from Glasgow Queen Street to Cowlairs.
    Abandoned to “normal” haulage only on 31 October 1908. Lococ had a special slip-hook affixed to their from bufferbeams, so that the haulage could be dropped, without stopping on reaching the crest of the bank.

  53. Greg Tingey says:

    Also – look up the pre-history of the Liverpool & Manchester, the “Battle for the locomotive” & the fact that the original last bit down to Wapping (Liverpool) was rope-hauled.

  54. Whiff says:

    These comments have become a fascinating history and engineering lesson so thanks everyone; one Paddington anomaly I’ve still never seen explained is why Bishops Road station is on Bishops Bridge Road though that’s presumably down to the road changing name at some point in the last 150 years.

    I used the new Paddington layout for the first time last week and contrary to reports I’d read I thought the signs were fine – I did wonder, though, if there was room for a moving walkway to be squeezed in alongside the new taxi rank!

    Greg Tingey -if someone is asking for directions it doesn’t necessarily mean they are lost; personally speaking I find that even I am reasonably sure where I’m going and the signs are adequate it can still be quicker and more re-assuring to ask for advice if there is someone to hand.

    Stu – given the recent developments at Kings Cross it could be argued that we are still working out the best way for terminus stations should function

  55. Kit Green says:


    Before there was a bridge there would be no Bishops Bridge Road.

  56. timbeau says:


    That accumulator tower is nothing to do with the railway – the rope haulage system used stationary steam engines. According to last years’ quiz it was used to power the cranes in the Limehouse Basin.

  57. Greg Tingey says:

    Errr … Kit Green
    Not even a “Bishop’s Bridge” over the canal?

    That reminds me … what’s happened to this years (last year’s now – it’s confusing – I think you mean the year-before-lasts? – 2011 quiz er …) the 2012 quiz, anyway?
    It has gone horribky quiet.
    Was there a triple-tie for an inglorious number of maximum marks, or what?
    Some of us (including me, who know that they have screwed-up answers they should have got right) woould like to know the real answers, if nothing else…..

  58. John Bull says:

    Lots of entries this year so took me ages to mark, which meant it ran into the 150th birthday stuff. During which I figured it was more important to get that steam run stuff up first.

    Good news is that the prizes have all arrived now, so I’m going to let the winners know over the weekend and post the answers up then.

  59. Ian Sergeant says:

    Re: Bishops in Paddington

    If you look at a map from 1810 it suggests that Bishop’s Bridge was not there before the railway (the bridge you see carries the Harrow Road over the canal near what is now Little Venice). This scholarly article says Brunel built the first “Bishop’s Road Bridge”.

    On Bishop’s Road v. Bishop’s Bridge Road, this thread from District Dave says that the 1936 A-Z documents that Bishop’s Bridge Road was formerly called Bishop’s Road.

  60. Fandroid says:

    Presumably the bridge over the canal close to Paddington Basin would have had a name. It is in the same location as the bridge currently carrying Bishops Bridge Road over the canal, although its route southwest of there did a big loop in 1810, presumably to reach the best crossing of the Bourne. It would seem as if that road (the predecessor of Bishops Bridge Road) was diverted onto a straight course when the bridges were built to allow it to cross the new railway.

  61. Ian Sergeant says:

    But is that a bridge? The other bridges are shown clearly as going over the canal. That one looks to me as if the canal has bisected the road…

  62. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian Sergeant
    Well, I can tell you District Dave’s site info is wrong, because I have a repro original “A-Z” … and it is shown as Bishops’ Bridge Rd, not Bishops’ Rd.,

  63. Ian Sergeant says:


    What the thread says is this – you may be able to confirm the truth of it or otherwise:

    I am sitting at my desk reading this and in front of me is the reprint of the very first 1936 A-Z (which you can buy online and well worth it).

    On the map it is “Bishops Bridge Road” only. In the index it is “Bishops Road” but no “Bishops Bridge Road.”

    I then turned to a massive index listing in it of pages of “L.C.C. Street Name Changes” and there under “Old Name” is “Bishops Road” the under “New Name” is “Bishops Bridge Road.”

  64. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian S.
    That is correct.
    If you look at the index, it shows the changes as listed in your piece.
    Most illuminating.
    Wonder why the LCC went in for such a massive re-naming exercise?

  65. Slugabed says:

    Greg…as I understand it,the aim was to ensure that the Post Office could more easily distinguish between roads of (previously) the same name in the days when people still weren’t used to the numbered Postal Districts,and that there certainly weren’t two roads of the same name within any one district.

  66. Greg Tingey says:

    Postal Districts in London were an outcome of WWI – that’s when they were intorduced, IIRC.
    However, what about all the Westboune/Westboune Park Road/Terrace/Crescent etc multiples, just SW of where we are looking at – very confusing, if actually distinct.

  67. Fandroid says:

    Ian S.

    I can’t explain why I thought the 1810 map showed a bridge over Paddington Basin, because, looking at it again, it plainly doesn’t. However, I have now read your ‘scholarly article’ on Brunel’s cast iron bridge over the canal. In that paper, Brunel is quoted as writing to the Grand Junction Canal Co: ‘I forward you an elevation of the Bridge we propose to erect over the basin at Paddington in lieu of the present foot bridge’. It’s possible that footbridge was a swing bridge, or a lifting bridge as both were common on the canals, and there are plenty still surviving.

    Jackson’s London’s Termini adds yet another name! It says that Bishops Road was called Bishops Walk before the railway bridge was built. Interestingly, the arches of the original (brick) bridge housed ticket offices and waiting rooms and other railway offices and the SE faces of the arches were ornamented as befitted a grand London terminus.

  68. Ian Sergeant says:

    This confirms Bishop’s Walk becoming (eventually) Bishop’s Bridge Road, and gives a succinct description of the development of the area between Paddington and Westbourne Grove.

  69. Whiff says:

    Thanks everyone for the fascinating bits of history. Diamond Geezer also has a brief summary here.

    Returning to the subject of Crossrail it will be interesting to see how they link the Bishop’s Road platforms to the Crossrail station. At the moment it looks like the quickest way will be a stroll down Bishop’s Bridge Road but I can’t believe that will be the final recommended route.

  70. Greg Tingey says:

    According to “London Railway Record” Jan 2013 issue, just out …
    There was going to be a direct Bakerloo-concourse-to-Crossrail pedestrian tunnel-link.
    But it was too close to the surface, & would/might have caused trouble with the buildings above.
    So, thet are going to tunnel a link, but not on the original alignment & deeper. No info as to where, exactly, at present.

  71. Ian Sergeant says:

    I suspect that the recommended route will be the same as that to platform 1 now – over the footbridge. It’s an interesting one though. More than ever before an a ‘tube’ train, we are going to see people heading for different entrances depending upon exit. Thus people heading for Moorgate or Farringdon will want to be coming into a different entrance at Paddington to facilitate their exit from those heading for Liverpool Street or Barbican.

    How does this impact passenger flows? The D&C passengers should be unchanged, the Bakerloo a little down (people who exit at Oxford Circus, for instance, might move to Crossrail). But large numbers of H&C people from metro and long-distance terminators will transfer to Crossrail, many changing their current exit, Have Crossrail considered how the Lawn, and in particular the exits to the Lawn, will cope with this?

  72. Guy says:

    Just wondering if any crossrail stations will have more than 2 crossrail platforms. I note the scissor crossing at Canary Wharf, but thought Paddington may have an additional platform to accommodate the terminating trains?

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